Dubai is a city of goodbyes. Here, we’re always on the go, entering or exiting. It’s home to many expats and many of us come here fully aware and conscious of the reality that one day, sooner or later, we’ll have to bid it goodbye. We’ll have to leave behind the walls, within which we built ourselves a home; the eateries, where we discovered many, different cuisines; the streets, where we walked on under the harsh sun; the supermarkets, where we filled up carts with elements of daily needs; and more. But most importantly, as time goes by, we become aware of the fact that we’ll also have to leave behind the individuals, who became our friends and family in a new place or they’d exit before our turn comes. Either way, it isn’t easy.
As I pen this down, a dear friend is packing her life of more than twenty years in multiple cardboard boxes. She’s headed to her home country to build a new life — to start her career in a field, which will bring her true happiness. The future as of now is uncertain, but her determination will make up for it. Ever since she reached this courageous, big decision with her family, we’ve spoken amply on how life would be from here on… Of course, answers to certain questions are tough to find.
Last week, we said goodbyes and it left us both moist-eyed. We’ve not even known each other for two complete years. Yet, the tears didn’t seem uncalled for. For purely selfish reasons, of course, I’d want her to stay back or perhaps be the first to leave, amongst us. I am also aware that this was the first of many goodbyes I’d say in my years of stay here. Job change, transfers in existing jobs, change of weather/scenery, etc. will bring me face-to-face with similar situations, every now and then.
Having said that and shed a few tears, I can say that the whole experience has taught me a lot about myself, as well as about relationships. If everything around is temporary should we be investing our time and energies in friendships? Goodbyes do many things to us. They serve as a reminder to our expat lives that are built on shaky, temporary parameters. They test our relationship with not just one another, but also the city — will we stay in touch and how? How quickly will I be able to develop a new friendship, worthy enough to replace one with hers? Or rather, how long am I allowed to complain about her being gone? Of course, answers to certain questions are tough to find.
But here’s what I do know. It’s not easy to live without a bunch of friends. In such scenarios, ‘until it, last’ sounds like a lovely option.
Yes, goodbyes are hard to say but need to be said. So, until we meet next, goodbye. We shared a lovely time until it lasted.