A Formal Apology to those I’ve left Behind

It’s understandable in reason, the fact that one moves on in his or her own direction, subsequently leaving those they called friends in faded remnants of forgotten memories.  However, reason does not justify an excuse.  I’ve known many people in my short life.  I’ve traveled to more countries than I can count on my hands, and I’ve attended quite a few schools.  So to say the least, I’ve encountered a person or two, and I’ve said good bye to two or three.

Life is forever changing.

I remember the first day I got a dog.  I was six years old.  When my dad got off work he picked us up and we drove to our family friend to pick up Saturn.  We opened the sliding door to our Dodge Caravan and my dad brought him inside.  he jumped on everything and I couldn’t stand him.  He smelled, he was gross, he was loud, and he would never stop moving around.  After a few months of me yelling at him to get out of my room and being sad that he never wanted to play with me, I began to grow discontent.  Until one day I was watching my older brother play the N64.  I was laying on the floor with a pillow behind my head, then my brother took my pillow and I began to tear up.  But as I laid there in my all blue sweats, Saturn crawled his way under my head and laid there acting as my pillow.  That was the moment I became a dog person.

I remember the last day I had my dog.  We were moving back to Germany and we had one more day left in Clarksville.  It was the raining the day we gave him away.  I was in my yellow raincoat, and my brother was in his teal raincoat walking Saturn to our neighbor.  We knocked on their door, they welcomed us in, we gave the leash over, and left.

I cried that day.

This post isn’t about my life.  I suppose it’s more of a belated ‘bye’.  I’ve moved a few times in my life.  From Germany, to Clarksville, TN, back to a different part of Germany, and then back to Clarksville.  I made friends I thought were more dear to me than my own self.  Dylan in kindergarten, Marc in 2nd Grade, Alex in 4th.  These were my friends.  They were great friends.  But we went different ways.  Dylan moved to New York in ’97.  Alex moved to California around ’07.  I never heard from Marc.

The invention of the internet made goodbyes awkward.  Kind of like saying see you later to a friend then the both of you awkwardly walk the same direction.  Marc and I had a proper good bye.  Never saw him again.  Not in real life or on the internet.  But I heard from Dylan when I was in 6th grade on MySpace.  A few seemingly forced salutations ended the conversation quickly, and our goodbye in kindergarten became meaningless.  I found Alex on MySpace around the same time.  We caught back up really fast and he made his way to my Top 8.  We IMed each other pretty frequently, played games on Xbox Live and kept in touch until about high school.  After the death of MySpace, we found each other on Facebook, but after awhile we just lost touch.  I apology for the awkward walk aways.

These examples represent dozen’s of people.  There are a few exceptions however.  One consistent has been my best friend Shawn who I’ve known and been in contact with since we were both four years old.  Friendship is hard to maintain.  Distance tolls a relationship harder than no other.

I romanticize the days I spent in Wurzburg, Bayern, Germany.  That’s where I was (arguably) raised.  Three years is the amount of time I spent there.  From age 7 to age 11.  Yeah the math can work….  I moved there without knowledge of the country, without friends, and with an older brother I thought was mean.  I felt scared.  I missed Shawn and I missed Walmart.  But those days walking in the shadows of Cathedrals older than the USA… those days are what I feel impacted me.  I traveled to 10 countries in the span of those three years.  Saw the romantic city of Paris.  Walked the narrow sidewalks of Venice.  Swam in the sea off the coast of Cebu.  Those three years I consider my “raised” years because of how much they influenced me.  Anybody who knows me, or has talked to me for more than an hour, knows I live my life for adventure.

I moved to Chattanooga, TN in 2011.  Moved here for school.  Moved here for something new.  For the need of adventure.  After living in Clarksville for awhile, I felt long done with my time there.  A friend once told me he couldn’t see me living in any one place for more than three years time.  I was oddly proud.  Chattanooga was fantastic.  Chattanooga was my town.  It was my home.  I made memories I wouldn’t trade.  I couldn’t trade.  I’ve been here for a little under three years.  I love this city.  I climbed mountains and I stood proudly above the city I love.  Watching.  I drank coffee out of my superman mug on a ridge sitting above the clouds.  Clear as day on the ridge, unable to see below the ocean of clouds.  I’ve done a lot.  But then again, I’m only 20.  If the old gods are good to me, I’m only 1/5 done.

I guess I’m writing this for many reasons.  But none at the same time.  I’m moving to Poughkeepsie, NY.  This is the biggest move I’ve done since I was 11.  This is the first move I’ve done without the assistance of family.  This was a choice made by me, and not the United States government.  The craziest and unwrecking duration of time was that this was/is to be done in a month.  February of all months.  So for the many reasons, I write to say goodbye in a metaphorical sense.  Present Toby will soon become the Past.  In three weeks, I will be in NY, and reading this will be a memory.  Chattanooga will be a memory.  And that saddens me.  Chattanooga is a memory.  Typing that out.  Repeating it in my head and out loud.  Chattanooga… will be missed.

My friends in town, my friends in Germany, and my friends around the world.  I’m sorry if we won’t get our proper goodbye.  I’m sorry we lost/will lose touch.  I’m sorry you’re only a memory.  But I’m happy you are.  You are the reason I am me.  You’re the reason I reflect, the reason I want to meet more people.  I hope you’re well in your life.  And I hope you’re making your own adventures.  Because we’re all stories in the end, so make it worth the read.

I’ll be seeing you.

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