This isn’t goodbye

This+isnt+goodbye%2C+this+is+simply+see+you+later.+These+memories+will+never+leave.+I+will+be+forever+grateful.+Thank+you%2C+Class+of+2022.

This isn’t goodbye, this is simply see you later. These memories will never leave. I will be forever grateful. Thank you, Class of 2022.

Next Tuesday is officially the end of what high school has always been. The image that the seniors have created and maintained will be over, and I don’t know what’s going to happen next.

The seniors graduate on the 17th, and then it’s over. I don’t know what high school will be after that. A quote from Winnie the Pooh puts my feelings into words impeccably: “Goodbye…? Oh no, please. Can’t we go back to page one and do it all over again?”

I know some of you—if not most—would rather die than go back to the beginning of high school to begin again, but I would give anything to “accidentally” close the book and lose my page, forcing me to start all over.

There are a few of you, Class of 2022, that have effected my high school career so much that I don’t know if I will forget it. You have created and maintained the image I associate with high school, and it’s going to be strange without you. You have changed my life.

So here’s to you.

To the one who helped me find a new passion, I don’t know enough words to express my gratitude.

I forced The Central Trend into my schedule. I didn’t know if I would like it, or if I would dread 6th hour every day. I’ve always liked writing well enough, but I preferred to write stories that I could hide behind; stories that held heroines who could take all the pain and heartache from the real world without actually effecting them.

For two years, I opened the site to read the stories of two people in particular: you and Linus. I didn’t know you, but your words spoke volumes–they continue to–volumes I always wished to express.

Writing for Publication was scary. The staff was intimidating. I felt small. I continued to read your words and found that I could do it too. I could put raw emotion onto paper, and I didn’t have to hide anymore. I found a passion for words I didn’t know I held.

The site will now feel empty, as your words are only echos.

To the one who taught me to love a new form of music, I will miss you immensely.

From Jazz Band to Wind Ensemble, you are a phenomenal musician. I hope to see you around, whether it be at work or at concerts or at football games. You wrote that you wouldn’t miss this place, but I hope you find that you miss the people.

I was scared of Jazz Band. It meant a new instrument and a new form. You have taught me more over one year than I have learned in a long time. You have taught me about myself and my musicianship. You carried our section through some difficult pieces—we never could have played Sir Duke or Oclupaca without you.

I only hope we can make it through next year’s jazz challenges without you.

To the one who gave me a home, I will never forget you.

High school was daunting. I was terrified. Band camp came so quickly, and I wasn’t ready. By the time it was over, I had built lasting friendships. Then—even through COVID-19—I knew I had those.

Band camp 2020 will be a memory I will never forget, and band camp 2021 will be one that I never want to. This year, I finally got to see you do something I knew you could. I finally got to see you step up as section leader. I didn’t know if I would march again in high school, with a global pandemic and everything. When I found out that not only would we be marching, but that you would be our section leader, I couldn’t have been more excited.

You made this season one to remember, and you gave me a home on the field and in the band room that I will forever be grateful for.

I pray that I will be able to do this one more time without you.

To the one who stuck with me, thank you for showing up.

Even when it was only the two of us. Even when we were on Zoom, and no one would turn their cameras on. Even when we didn’t know if GLI was something we could continue because we didn’t have the numbers. Even then, you showed up.

I can’t wait to see what you do at CMU. I can’t wait to see what amazing things you do with your life. You have not only made high school memorable, but you gave me a safe space to be myself. You and Mrs. Felton gave me something to look forward to in the middle of the week.

The last meeting before you graduate was one I was looking forward to and dreading at the same time. I was looking forward to it because I know you will do amazing things. I know that college will be something that you will thrive through. I was dreading it because it meant saying goodbye. It meant that it might only be me left here to carry on the legacy of GLI. It means a chapter coming to an end.

Please, never lose touch. Maybe I’ll run into you someday on campus at CMU.

All I can do is hope that I can find the numbers to bring me to the next chapter.

To the one who made me laugh without fail, your humor forever lines these hallways.

A day has not gone by since I started jazz band where you haven’t made me smile, at the very least. Most days there is laughter ringing through the band room—bouncing off the walls that are supposed to absorb sound, but don’t.

At the beginning of this year, I never expected you to be one of the goodbyes I was dreading. I didn’t know you—I don’t really know you—but here we are. You’ve managed to change my life in only a couple of months. Without trying, you made me realize that there’s light in everything, even a solo I had six hours to prepare for.

Your sense of humor, and the laughter that always ensues, is one of the things that gets me through the rest of my day. I know that there is always going to be a reason I smile during fifth hour, and generally, it’s a joke you made under your breath.

You told me that you were excited to be almost done, and I don’t doubt that. I don’t doubt that you are looking forward to the next adventure; you strike me as someone who always is.

I only wish I had gotten to know you a little bit sooner.

To the kindest villain, your legacy lives within the halls of FHC.

I mourn the fact that I didn’t really start to get to know you until after our moms became friends. I’ve seen you play the villain more than once now, but your acting doesn’t even begin to portray your character in real life.

The first real interaction I ever had with you is one I won’t forget. Not because it was all that memorable, but because it was bold.

It was the first day of school and we were in jazz band. We were talking about what instruments we play and I said that in jazz, I played the tenor. You asked what I play outside of jazz, and I told you I played clarinet. Your response was honestly one of the most amazing reactions I’ve gotten. “We all make mistakes.” Then, you continued like you hadn’t said anything at all.

I’d met you but never talked to you before that. After that interaction, and then another one we had on the field during a practice, I knew you were the type of person that would be in my friend group.

I wish I hadn’t waited until April to have a real conversation with you.

To the one with the contagious smile, thank you for making this marching season something to smile about.

From marching band to theater, your smile catches like wildfire. Whether it was a joke from your friend or a difficult rhythm to conduct, nearly every time I looked at you you were smiling, and that smile caught on quickly.

One of my clearest memories from the musical is from the matinee. It was a phenomenal run for you, and you hit every single note. You came off stage right where Alex, Meg, and I were sitting. The smile on your face—the absolute pride that was visible—made us all smile. We had been silently cheering for you every time you hit a note, and we were happy to see how proud you were.

For almost a year now, I’ve been slowly getting to know you. I wish I had thought to sooner. You made our long holds on the sideline during the Pixar Medley bearable by mumbling and making us all laugh.

I hope that one day I will be able to do that too.

Goodbye…? Oh no, please. Can’t we go back to page one and do it all over again?”

— Winnie the Pooh

Goodbye has always been hard for me. More than anything, I hate goodbyes. I hate the idea that I might not see someone again. I hate the idea that maybe, just maybe, this is the end of the story.

I sit here writing this, while selfishly wishing none of you would move on. I’m sitting here selfishly hoping that you will stay here at FHC, at least until it’s my turn to graduate. I don’t know how to do high school without you all. I’m scared to step onto the football field without you all. I’m scared to play my saxophone without you all. I’m scared to write without you all. I’m scared to even think about high school without the people who have built my idea of it.

This isn’t goodbye. Goodbye means I’ll never see you again, and I refuse to believe that might be true. I will steadfastly refuse to say goodbye to the seven of you. All I can confidently say is see you later.

This goodbye is like when you delete a picture that you have loved forever. You remember what it looks like—you cherish that moment—but you know you can never go back.

I can never go back.