On goodbyes, reunions and guitars

Last week a friend gave me a guitar. One of these friends that comes and goes like summer. Ever so warm, like a short vacation from your life, a place for that brutal honesty that we reserve for complete strangers. A summer breeze much needed in the increasingly cold autumn and coming winter.

Waving my friend goodbye at the train station I hold the guitar and that heavy feel in the throat resulting from the socially enforced behavior of keeping up appearance. Too many great people live too far away, there has been a few too many goodbyes of late.

My mother tells me this is life when you travel around so much – her way of kindly implying that I should come home and settle down like a good, sensible person. Being my mother’s daughter she knows I am not ready to come home just yet. My mother, too often knowing exactly what she is talking about, is of course completely right – my lifestyle of late contain a lot of distance and all that follows. But while what she says is true, I remind myself that before any goodbye there was first a hello. The beauty in meeting people from all over the world if only for a fraction of your life contains the priceless essence of the bittersweet melancholy in any goodbye.

In Germany there is a saying “Man trifft sich zweimal im Leben” (~You meet everyone twice in life) and my thoughts are transported to a possible chance encounter on the streets in Stockholm, on a cafe in Paris, while sightseeing in Hamburg or relaxing on a beach somewhere were there is always a summer breeze brushing in from the ocean.

Returning from the train station I do some guitar tuning and sit there playing some old songs that in my late teens/early twenties were part of my pathetic excuse of a repertoire. In the night I hear one of the strings snap and for several days the guitar stands there like the absence of a good friend far away yet present in memory. I was not aware how much I had missed playing the guitar until once again I was kept from it.

Today, with a mixture of happy excitement and nervous performance anxiety, I fixed the string. A few moments later I sat worthy of every “I-get-all-the-girls”-teenage-guitarist-wannabees pathetically playing Oasis’ Wonderwall – badly, to add to injury. But happily reunited with an old friend.

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