Three minutes and thirty-eight seconds.

The length of a cell phone conversation.

That is exactly the shortest amount of time that I’ve been lucky enough to spend saying goodbye to one of the best people that I’ve come across in my entire life.

Goodbye for God knows how long.

Goodbye for a while.

I think it would be safe to say that half a minute into it I was already “breaking up” (and that would not be a technical term for bad reception) I still have tears in my eyes and half a knot in my throat that tell me I am going to miss this one. This friend (whatever definition of friend you might want to use here) is going to leave a mark, just like the one left behind last year by David, María and Jon.

I can’t remember when the last time I got emotional like this was. I can think of other times, but don’t know when exactly they happened or care to put them in chronological order anyway. But one thing is for certain: there’s no better way to figure out what matters to you the most than by letting your emotions take over you.

See, almost as a mechanism of self-defense I avoided Pablo this morning at home. I heard him out and about, but decided not to say goodbye in what might have seen to some as laziness or lack of appreciation. I even left first last night after the farewell dinner. Inside I knew this was going to happen and I would rather not have to say goodbye. I would rather not have to hug him and say all those empty things that we just said.

The empty “I’m here for anything you need …”

The void “We’ll get together soon in Madrid …”

The vacuous “It’s been a pleasure all these years …”

All empty not because they don’t carry a heartfelt emotion behind, but empty because both ends of the conversation know full well that life is about to change. That things will never be the same and they will have to work extra hard to keep these very promises being thrown out, to even keep in touch, care for each other, stay up to date with the latest developments in each other’s lives.

Empty because that is what one calls the space we cannot fill when the people that utter those words leave us behind.

Empty yet true. Heartfelt and true. Sad and true. Torn but true.

One thought on “3:38

  1. I completely agree with Juanjo.
    I had the need to talk to Pablo on Monday night, but didn’t want to say “adiós” but “hasta luego”. The telephone conversation was brief, and I didn’t want to become emotional about it.
    It has been difficult to be separate from our friends (again) for almost a year, but phone calls helped stay in touch somehow.
    Spain though, is a little more difficult.
    My chances to see him again are not the same as for the Spaniards, since I never traveled to Spain, the possibility of many to see him during Christmas is not an option for me, since we go back to our country, Argentina, thousands of miles apart.
    Nevertheless, Pablo is very special and he justifies the hard work to keep up the promise of getting in touch or seen each other again.
    I’ll do my best.

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