I don't want you to go

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/04/14 03:36 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2007/04/14/2128155.aspx


(Absolutely positively nothing technical, whatsoever)

My grandmother said those words as I stood in the kitchen, about to head out to the car taking me to the airport.

Of course I still had to go.

I had been in Ohio a week, probably one of the longest vacations I had taken since I first started working for Microsoft full time.

Vacations have perhaps gotten less glamorous than they used to be.

I mean, back in the day it might have been Bangkok or Grand Cayman or Hong Kong or Hawaii or Singapore or Amsterdam or Taipei or Little Cayman or Tokyo.

Suddenly it was Beachwood.

And now I am heading back to Redmond on a 757.

It was just last week that I realized that I have lived in Redmond longer than any other place I have in my life. I guess the short term contract worked out okay in the end....

But I think back to my grandmother's words again -- I don't want you to go.

Now maybe it is just the music I am playing at the same time as I am writing this post, and with that in mind you can proably discount everything that follows to some extent.

But I have heard those words before. And to be blunt the people who said them were people who were important to me.

Well, ast least more important than the people who have said "I do want you to go" (or less formally "get the hell out"!).

A few of these people were girlfriends, or lovers. Some of them were very good friends, people I relied on (and vice versa). One of them was just four years old. And don't think for a minute that the last one on the list was the easiest of the bunch.

Yet each time, at the point where someone was saying the words, I was not going to stay.

Worse, each time, I think the person saying it knew nothing was going to change just because they said something.

So what is being expressed, exactly?

Sadness? Anger? Frustration?

A general sense of pathos about a universe that would conspire to move two people away from each other?

Perhaps all of those things. And more.

Or maybe I am underestimating everyone's intentions.

It could be just what Kathleen Edwards was thinking about in Old Time Sake, or maybe even what William Thacker was thinking when he answered Anna Scott's request to stay a bit longer with Stay Forever.

It may just be that in some cases they were actually hoping I would stay. For a day, for a week, for a month, forever.

Maybe by leaving (the situation, the place) I really was letting someone down, dashing a mad hope that someone who would smuggle a cat into Ankara on the way to a Jethro Tull show for no other reason than he promised he would return the cat to its owner might bend the universe for a moment and delay or dash the plans for no other reason than someone said the words.

Would it make a difference? Hard to say....

Now as I re-read this entry that I may just delete rather than posting it, I can recall one time that I did heed the words.

A time that she said I don't want you to go that I stopped what I was about to do and asked her if she meant it. And when she said she did I changed the plan of ending a relationship and turned back to her so that I could hold her and tell her that I was hers.

Not that it made much difference, though -- that relationship was over too, eventually. In fact, it might have been easier had I not turned around.

Maybe I just decided to stop heeding the words. Maybe now I just take them as a very sweet expression of sadness in a world that can't change on the basis of six words, even for a little bit. So I nod and say I wish I didn't have to and I still leave.

Perhaps I am just a cynic now.

But I'll tell you a secret, though. I don't believe it.

Because I said the words to someone once, and that someone is still in my life.

And they smile around me just often enough that I believe they are happy about it.

In other words, they didn't go. And in the process of all that staying, they showed a strength of character for which I am grateful, of which I am jealous, and to which I aspire.

I mean, I believed in life's rich tapestry even before Modern English was singing about it. And I believe in it now.

If you look Farther Down (apologies to Matthew Sweet!), I am an optimist, no matter how cynical I may seem at times.

So the next time it happens, maybe I'll be braver. Maybe I will change the itinerary or the plans or the direction in life. Whichever might be appropriate.

(Unless the person saying it actually read this post, in which case I might have to disqualify the words; readership may have its privileges around here but I have to draw the line somewhere!)

You may not have any idea what this post is about right now. But maybe some day you will.... :-)

 

This post brought to you by ΛΊ (U+02fa, a.k.a. MODIFIER LETTER END HIGH TONE)


# bg on 14 Apr 2007 7:50 AM:

I guess somewhat trite reply: Sometimes you need to go away in order to come back again. (ugh!)

surely sometimes you have to leave - move on - extend yourself as a human being. I think sacrifice is as much a part of life as love.

The person(s) you leave loose you, you loose them, but you get something, I'm not sure what, back in return.

# orcmid on 14 Apr 2007 2:20 PM:

Wow!

Thanks for holding up a mirror to show us the human heart.

OK, a stupid curiosity: What was that music that evoked your song for us?  

# Michael S. Kaplan on 15 Apr 2007 4:59 PM:

Shouldn't I be making anyone who is curious guess? :-)

# Arun Philip on 16 Apr 2007 3:07 AM:

> a universe that would conspire to move two people away from each other

That really hit home.

# Eber Irigoyen on 19 Apr 2007 12:02 AM:

"Because I said the words to someone once, and that someone is still in my life.

And they smile around me just often enough that I believe they are happy about it.

In other words, they didn't go. And in the process of all that staying, they showed a strength of character for which I am grateful, of which I am jealous, and to which I aspire."

good stuff...


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