ampersand goodbyes

2 min readSep 9, 2018


It’s always the human desire to add “and” to something, because we fear what is final, definitive, irreconcilable. We will boldly make a controversial statement, then sheepishly cower at our vulgarity and add a “and I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day!” Or something along the lines of, “I just gave you syphilis… and also I left some cookies on the counter.” The “and” is an antidote to the unpleasant, a balancing act so often required in a well-mannered conversation that might have turned awry somewhere along the way.

So there we were on the stretch of road, with the sun beaming down on your obsidian flows of hair and reflecting against the rims of your glasses. We decided we would go in opposite directions in that stretch, non-parallel and quite possible never see each other again in that light, in that context. It was the beginning of an end, and that end was carefully constructed over — or should I say despite? — soft words and desperate pleas.

Yet here we were, at an end of the fork, an inevitable division of paths. It was neither your fault or mine, really. Nobody can escape the chaos of the human condition, where atoms sometimes align two souls together, then ripped apart by the ever-mysterious force of nature. We could stand there and weep at the gash left on the sandcastle we so meticulously worked to build, our own carved niche in an infinitely expanding sphere. But really, only within that scorched space can grass grow again, stronger and of a more vivid green hue, so did we really have a reason to linger in regret?

I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of its sting, though. It stung to lift up my blindfold, an amalgamation of doubt, conceit, and ingratitude, and finally realize what I would be losing. I really did love you, and maybe we didn’t have to let it end this way. Maybe there really was a solution for us, a materialization of deus ex machina swooping down and salvaging our emotions. I waited for something, anything, before the farewell could be spoken.

Still, it was said, in your glance and mine. I also know we each wanted to add an ampersand, a point of absolute finality before we lost it all. “And…” And what? We didn’t know, but I hope your temptation to entertain that thought was as intense as mine.

But goodbyes don’t — and shouldn’t — have ampersands. We have to nurture it, so that flowers may bloom on the space vacated by me and you. And maybe we will see each other again when the first one blossoms.

Originally published at on September 9, 2018.