There is no sensation quite like the anticipation of imminent departure.
I remember my final week at home before returning to college, each morning awaking next to friends I cared about deeply. It would be 7am, the sunlight freckled across our statuesque faces—our arms in legs entangled in a silent refusal to move and an unspoken plea to stay. Then, the sudden jolt of our rainforest alarms, the slam on the 15-minute snooze. The lethargic, reluctant roll over to friends on each side—groggily, but oh, so acutely, understanding that our time was now officially limited.
How do you describe that sensation? The full awareness that in a rapidly ticking 15 minutes, you will completely be removed from people you care so fervently about. In this moment—amidst the tickle of their breathing against the baby hairs of your neck, the perfectly rhythmic rise and fall that you balance upon—you convince yourself you could spend an eternity trapped in that singular experience. Yet, “in this moment” is slowly diminishing, and you are trapped, painfully cognizant of the waning seconds. In just 15 minutes, you will not know what it feels like to be beside these people for another whole year.
How do you explain the sensation of forcing yourself to say goodbye? Knowing that you could will yourself to stay, but you must push yourself to go. You beg to the void, “another 5 minutes, another 10 minutes—just a little more time next to these people, please.” The bargains, the wishes, they all never work—because in the end, the 15 minute snooze rings, and you force yourself to move.