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See You Later! (maybe)

Updated on February 26, 2012

See you later! I shouted over my shoulder to a long-time acquaintance as we parted ways. As the distance between us grew, I began thinking about all the people I have known throughout my life that I no longer see. How many times did I inadvertently say, “See you later” and yet never see that person again?

As you might imagine, there will always be times when we expect not to see people again such as when we graduate from school or perhaps move away. Then of course there are the tragic and unexpected deaths of friends and loved ones. But what about the unforeseen separations in our lives, where people just seem to fall off the face of the earth?

As I walked, I thought about my life as a young boy. Memories of neighborhood friends, the school crossing guard, the local pastor, and even visions of the old butcher flooded my mind. I struggled to remember the last time I actually saw any of them and even more intriguing, what were my last words with them?

Although I could not recall specific conversations of our last encounters, I wondered how different those same conversations would have been had we known it was the last time we would see each other. Would we have been more sincere with our comments, take care, get home safe, etc.

A sudden wave of sorrow descended upon me as I realized that some of these people were probably no longer alive and I would in fact never see them again! I decided to push that thought aside and concentrate on some happy memories. I began thinking about the impact that some of these people had on my life.

It is almost certain that people from our past mold us into the people we are today. What would I say to these people if I did have the opportunity to speak with them again? Little did I know I would soon have that chance with the help of social media.

One day while catching up on my emails, I received an invitation to attend a 35year reunion of my grammar school! The email contained a webpage link to a social media site detailing the event. Within minutes I was digitally reunited with the names and faces from my childhood!

As the weeks approached I found myself almost rehearsing conversations I would be having with my long lost friends. Not wanting to miss a minute, I arrived early to the big event. Many unrecognizable faces gathered around the bar as I meandered my way through the darkness. Hesitation and fear gave way to embarrassment as some guests approached with smiles and hugs and I did not know who they were!

Eventually name tags and alcohol eased tensions resulting in relaxation and re-acquaintance. My comrades and I exchanged stories including updates of friends that were no longer with us. Before we knew it, it was time to start our good-byes.

This time I would not be so careless with my words, I carefully and methodically worked my way through the crowd spending a few precious minutes with each of my old friends. I carefully thought about the words I spoke. This time when I said that I will see you later, I actually meant it!


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    • PeanutButterWine profile image

      PeanutButterWine 6 years ago from North Vancouver, B.C. Canada

      This was extremely touching and I found myself understanding how you felt. I too think of all the people I haven't seen again, some have actually passed away. My old best friend was murdered in a tragic horrible scenario and I found out when I saw her face on the evening news. Boy did I ever feel bad for not being there for her that time when she had her baby; all the old arguments and hurts of our estranged friendship from years ago came flooding back and I found myself sobbing in front of the television helplessly.

      My Spouse asked if I knew her and I didn't have the energy or ability to explain our long convoluted history; all I could think was, "shes dead now, we can never make up". I don't like to leave things unfinished or negative with people anymore.. because you just never know!

      Great Hub Kevin :) I always enjoy the read, you get my synapses going!

    • KevinC9998 profile image

      KevinC9998 6 years ago

      Thanks, I really appreciate the positive feedback! Kevin

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Voted up and everything but funny. Great, great, great article. Perfect article Kevin. You make great points. I don't know how many times I have did this and it was the last goodbye. If I could have known, I would have said it much differently. USEFUL because it reminds me to be sincere on my goodbyes. AWESOME because we should be considerate when we say goodbye, even though we usually don't. BEAUTIFUL because our goodbye should be from the heart and INTERESTING because I now wonder what has become of all those people. A very good hub Kevin.