“It’s never easy to say goobye,” Servaas says, thinking of Siena and the last time they could smile together. “It’s so terribly final.”
“You’re confusing ‘goodbye‘ with ‘farewell‘, Servaas.” Gertruida smiles her rebuke. “The one leaves the potential for a future connection, the other denies it. It’s not the same thing.”
Servaas doesn’t answer immediately. He sips his beer, stares out of the window, and remembers the many goodbyes he had to say in his life. Some of them, indeed, turned out to be permanent – even though he hoped it wouldn’t. Servaasie was his life…
“Gertruida, everything in Life is temporary. The Tower of Piza will fall over one day. The Eifel won’t stand forever. Neither will the wind pumps on Vetfaan’s farm. Cars will rust away. People will die or go away. It’s the very nature of things.” He sighs as he points to his empty glass, nodding his appreciation as Boggel takes it away for a refill. “The problem with having to say goodbye, is that you don’t know, do you?”
Gertruida thinks back of Ferdinand’s hurried goodbye. She did, indeed, expect that he’d be back. But it didn’t work out that way, did it? Her attempt at appearing clever actually backfired. How often didn’t he tell her, in Spanish, Amada Mio? And then she’s answer correctly: Amodo Mio to incorporate the masculine form of the phrase. And then, in the heat of those beautiful and passionate moments, she believed it to be something that would comfort her into their future.
But then Amodo turned into Adio...and that was so final…
Precilla doesn’t say a word. Talking about goodbye made her remember Charles and the letter…
And so, a sad silence settles on Boggel’s Place, where some remember goodbyes that weren’t meant to be permanent, and didn’t turn out to be that way…and others that did.
“The point is,” Servaas tells his glass, “is that you never know. When you say goodbye, you have to say it like it’s the last time. And when you walk away, it must be with the knowledge that you didn’t leave unfinished business. Say what you have to. Do what you must. And leave behind only one thing – or maybe two: joy and beauty. That way; no matter what Life has in store; it’ll be okay.”
“I agree…” Precilla adds hesitantly with a sideways glance at Kleinpiet, “You never know what tomorrow might bring. Today’s happiness is so fragile.” She gives Kleinpiet an affectionate hug. “Treasure what you have – now. Tomorrow it might be gone.”
“Yes.” Servaas is emphatic. “Live now. Don’t wait for the inevitable. Sometimes goodbye is farewell. And it always catches one by surprise…”
Gertruida remembers the frivelous Amodo Mio Rita Hayworth did, and can’t stop the tears.
Even when Boggel tells her that it’ll be okay, she doesn’t respond. Goodbye and farewell are just too close to each other not to cause a feeling of intense loss and sadness. They are, she realises, two of the most intense words in the English language.
It is sad. And rich.