Goodbyes

by Richelle Sushil

Look, I know this is going to sound absolutely made up, but there was this one girl that I knew back in school who had a superpower. It wasn’t anything flashy, or anything that would save the world, really. But it was pretty nifty. First, it started out entertaining. One day, towards the end of our last year, she turned to me and said, “This is last the differential equation I will ever solve.” I laughed, because we were never too keen on Maths, and asked “What if it comes up on the exam?”

“It won’t, I don’t think. I’ve had this feeling before,” she said matter-of-factly. I shrugged and plodded on. She was always a little quirky.

The next time it happened, we were in the cafeteria, a week or two later. She looked me square in the face, brought the last forkful of macaroni and cheese to her mouth and said “That was the last bite of macaroni and cheese that I will ever have from the school cafeteria.” I shrugged and plodded on. She was always a little maudlin. (And the mac and cheese was never anything more than mediocre.)

But then the exams arrived, and there were no differential equations on our Maths paper. I shrugged and plodded on. It was a coincidence. Nothing more. And then macaroni and cheese Wednesday came, and went, macaroni and cheeselessly for the following three weeks leading up to graduation, and I could shrug and plod no more.

I asked her about it on graduation day. “Look, I have no idea how you did it, but our Maths paper, and mac and cheese Wednesdays... How did you know?” And then, she told me about it.

“I don’t know, really. I’ve just always had a sixth sense about these things. I always know I’m saying goodbye to something when I’m saying goodbye to it. I always know when it’s the last time. I just get this unshakeable feeling. And it’s all quiet, and certain. There’s nothing more to it.” I looked at her in disbelief. The ceremony started before I could say anything else, and the hall turned into a sea of caps and blue.

The last time it happened was after they’d called the last name. We were sat next to each other.

“It’s such a gift, what you have,” I said, “I’ve always thought it would be such a gift to know you are saying goodbye when you’re saying it.”

“Well, it’s a blessing and a curse, really.” She paused. “Sometimes it would be better not to know. Hurts less. Like how good, would it be, not to know that this is the last time we’ll ever talk like this.” There was a stunned silence while I took this in.

But then she laughed. “Come on, I’m joking. We’re seeing each other tomorrow, remember?” I should have known. She was always the jokester.

The funny thing is, though, tomorrow was the last time. In retrospect, I’m sure she knew it. She just didn’t say. She was always considerate, that way.

Feb.19KCL Creative Writing