Three days ago, as I sat in the plane that was to take me home, I felt the overwhelming sense of anxiety that I experience every year.
This anxiety is not a result of a fear of flying.
Instead, it is produced upon realizing that my vacation is over and that I am being returned to reality.
The Son, ever kind and considerate, squeezes my hand as the plane takes off.
I smile as I am reminded of the many times he’s done this in the past.
He smiles back and prods, “Alright. Go ahead. It’s time.”
I look out the plane’s small window nostalgically before reciting my ritualistic goodbye.
“Goodbye Mediterranean Sea. Goodbye churros, cafe cortado, and paella. Adios sunny skies, sandy beach, and Gazpacho. Hasta luego Serrano ham, tapas, and vino. I will miss you Manchego cheese, chorizo, horchatas. Till we meet again, madre, familia, vecinos.”
Before I am finished, I feel the tears rolling down my face.
It almost hurts to see the fading landscape as the plane continues to rise.
Goodbye–such a difficult word to say.
And yet it is a word that we utter daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.
You’d think it would get easier to say it but alas, such is not the case.
The emotions that lie in its two syllables are difficult to process.
I realize that this isn’t true for everyone but in my case, “goodbye” is one of the hardest words to say.
As I peer out the window once more, I realize that only a white mist is visible.
It seems incredible that just a few hours ago I was embracing my mother, whispering the word goodbye in her ear.
I can still hear her say, “Goodbye has too much finality to it. Instead, let’s say, ‘hasta pronto’.”
Until we meet again.
Yes, she is right.
Hasta pronto harbors hope and expectation.
Hasta pronto seems to promise that we shall meet again soon.
Hasta pronto allows us to believe that soon we shall toast over a glass of vino, fight over the last serving of paella, or laugh at the brave men walking on the beach in Speedos.
The melodic notes of these two words bring warmth to my aching heart; like a lullaby, they soothe my anxious state.
I lean back in my chair and close my eyes.
I hear the sound of the sea as it crashes against the rocks.
I feel the warmth of the sun as it caresses my skin.
I taste the salt in the air.
And suddenly, the promise of “hasta pronto” has lulled me to sleep.
Do you find it hard to say goodbye?