Every time I buy a bottle of tonic water, I end up with a sticky kitchen. I promise myself that the next time I buy one — whenever that is — I’ll open it over the sink. But something goes wrong in my brain — maybe it’s because I don’t really make that many cocktails at home, or maybe it’s because you can’t unlearn some behaviors — and I end up drenched and quininey with every gin and tonic I make. And as I mop up, I wonder why I didn’t do it better this time, why I didn’t move two feet over to the sink and make an efficient cocktail.
Other adults — who are better than me at life, and definitely at making cocktails — probably don’t have this problem.
This week was a big week for friends moving away, and I keep trying to think about how I feel about it. And the only thing I can think of is exploding tonic water. Because when people leave, it’s like opening up a bottle and seeing what happens. Even a still-looking bottle can have a little kick to it. Regardless of the outcome, everyone and everything will more or less be okay — the damage is minor, it’s only water — but it’s an upset. You have to adjust — at least for a little — to a newer, stickier way of life.
Most of the faces at parties will be the same, but the ones who are missing — who we’re all excited for on their new adventures, even if they don’t consider them adventures just yet — will be missed. We’ll still see them; it’s easier now because we can talk here, there, and everywhere, provided we haven’t taken to spelunking as a way to deal with the transition.
But like a tonic watered floor the next morning, it’s still a bit sticky.
It’s hard to know how much of a hug is enough. Was everything said that needed to get said? Did my face do the right thing? Did they know I was happy and sad, but mostly sad?
Did they know it won’t be the same here without them?