The first time it occurred to me was when I was riding the bus on the way to work a few weeks ago. I had bought my new monthly Metrocard and when I ran it through the machine on the bus, the expiration date came up: December 26. I just bought my last monthly Metrocard.
I can’t escape the thoughts now. Is this the last time I’m going to eat at this restaurant? Is this the last time I’m going to drink at this bar? Is this the last time I’m going hang out with this person?
The last one weighs on me the most. When I mention it to my friends, they always say, “Well, you’ll be back to visit, won’t you?” I know I will but I also know how this plays out. Having lived here my whole life, I have seen a lot of people move away. Some of them are my best friends. You assume that you’ll always see them when they visit but it doesn’t always work out like that. They have to see family. They have a limited schedule. Sometimes they are too busy. Sometimes I’m too busy. There are just oh-so-many people you can see. I don’t get mad or hurt (too much). I just know that’s how it is.
Now, it might be my turn to tell people that I don’t know if I’m going to have a chance to see them while I’m here and to feel bad that I didn’t let them know I was in town. Every trip home will end with somebody feeling left out.
This weekend, I finally met Taylor, Nikki and Jeremy’s two month old daughter. On the Metro-North train ride home, I thought to myself, “How old will she be when I see her again?”