To My Friends, Until We Meet Again

April Bannister
March 14, 2020

To my friends:

You all know me. You know I'm already crying.

I didn't want to write this post. I don't want to acknowledge that we're really saying goodbye, leaving the country that brought us together and returning, scattered, to one much larger. I especially don't want to say goodbye this early, not when we're losing precious weeks that we expected to have with each other. I knew it would hurt this much, and I've known it since we met. I have known every day how hard it would be to part from you all. But the knowledge doesn't make it any easier.

I've hugged some of you already. We've cried on each other's shoulders, taken our last photos together, promised to stay in touch. I'm lucky enough to have an extra few hours with others of you, and we won't go through this process until tomorrow. Regardless, here is something for everyone, a written record of my gratitude in case I haven't thanked you enough already for your presence in my life.

So thank you to my two friends from the beginning. From walks to class and grocery runs to traveling together to Howth and Giant's Causeway and Galway and beyond, I have been grateful for the two of you every single second we spent together. You made everything beautiful, even the coldest days. I'd shiver alongside you any day.

Thank you to the two friends I made along the way, for letting me into your group with nothing but humor and kindness and unconditional acceptance. Thank you for walking across the city with me so we could go climbing together. Thank you for the nights we spent watching my all-time favorite TV show, which I can't admit on here unless I want the embarrassment to follow me for the rest of my life. Thank you for the Writers' Retreat and the night on the beach.

Thank you to the friend who looked at my hair after I cut it myself and kept a straight face and said it really wasn't that bad, honestly. Thank you for getting your scissors and evening it out anyway.

Thank you all for late nights and early mornings, for cafes and poetry and train rides along the coast. Thank you for your music recommendations, your book suggestions, your camera skills. Thank you for Kinder Bueno bars and scones and hot chocolate. Thank you for endless treks through the city streets and the excitement when a destination was only 40 minutes away — 40 minutes? That's nothing!

Next time, I'll drive to you.

I am impossibly grateful for each and every one of you. I wouldn't have wanted to share this experience with anyone else.

I will count the seconds until we meet again.

April Bannister

<p>I am a second-year student from Saint Paul, Minnesota, studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. I enjoy writing across all genres, especially within the focus of mental health, and I hope that my words can inspire education and awareness on the subject. Outside of school, I can often be found rock climbing, running, and spending time with my dog.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2020 Spring
Home university:
University of Iowa
Hometown:
Saint Paul, MN
Major:
Creative Writing
English
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