I’m moving. Again.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve spent at least three months at a time in Jackson, Davidson College, Ghana, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Boston. I’ve been around friends, family and lovers, developing close, intense and intimate relationships at each stop. And I’ve had to say goodbye each time. I’ve packed my things and moved to the next destination only to repeat the process again due to school and jobs.
When I land at my new place, I try to maintain my composure and move forward. I try to keep in touch, but it’s not the same. I’ve lost relationships and have been burdened by the guilt of feeling like I’ve abandoned the people I love the most.
I’ve said “I’m sorry but I have to leave” too many times to too many people I love.
I’ve looked at too many eyes that said “don’t go” while trying to assure me I’m doing the right thing.
I’ve felt too many tears fall on my shoulder while I fought back my own.
And it’s breaking my heart.
“Usually you can stay, not today, not today!”
When I listened to Foreign Exchange’s “Valediction” today, all of those emotions came rushing to the forefront of my consciousness. The song hit me like a punch in the stomach that leaves me in the fetal position, clutching my midsection wondering how things can fall apart so fast.
There was something in Phonte’s voice resonated with me.
Pain is in the corners of each note Tay sings. It’s subtle but you can hear the inner conflict in his voice. He’s torn and barely maintaining his composure enough to say goodbye. Phonte says “not today” twice as if one is for his lover and the other is to himself to reassure that the decision to move on is the right one. The doubling of the drum is like that jarring, nervous heartbeat I feel taking that first step on the airplane knowing I won’t come back. Phonte and Nicolay have produced a track that hits that raw emotional nerve directly, making “Valediction” as remarkably beautiful as it is tragic.
I head back home tomorrow, then I say another set of “goodbyes” before I head to Chicago in January. I know I have to go to get my Master’s. I know I have to leave. So I’ll give hugs, pack and head off again with a smile. But as “Valediction” states, inside it’s slowly killing me.