It’s easier to leave than to be left behind

It’s easier to leave than to be left behind.”
REM’s melancholy lyrics and melodies flow like good wine.
For a minute you are tempted to romanticize heartbreak.

I was told once that leaving is “apologizing for causing hurt” whereas being left behind is “begging for the hurt to stop.”
Both concepts are so intertwined though, you can’t have one without the other.
You can’t leave someone behind if there is not “a someone” to be left behind.
It’s all very Yin and Yang!

Few places are as haunted by raw spillage from fragile human emotions as airports.
During the late 90s, I commuted a lot between cities and became an old hand at spotting “stories.”
With time you start collecting clues that tell you what the story might be.
Everyone at the airport has a story.
Some try to hide their stories behind a veneer of suave nonchalance.
Others choose to be the epitome of unbridled emotions whenever they are reunited with loved ones.
Whatever the story of each individual though, the human activity at terminals embodies the interdependency of leaving and the being left behind.

If you were at the airport today, what would be your story?
When you divert your attention away from the business people and holidaymakers, you’ll occasionally spot those who aren’t waiting for anyone to fetch them.
And some arrive without anyone accompanying them.
Right there you get an inkling of the real stories about “leaving” and “departing.”
For the businessmen and those on holiday, the airport is part of the adventure or only a necessity.
You learn to see those who have realized that being at the terminal is a life-changing event in itself.

But let’s suppose we’re going to “leave!”
What do we leave behind though?
Fragments of ourselves? Souvenirs of sorts?
Are the fragments thorns, or toxic serrated bits of shrapnel?
Are they gentle hints of lingering perfume or aftershave?
Do those fragments make you smile, cringe or recoil with disgust?
Perhaps the fragments formed bittersweet scars that you secretly don’t want to heal.

I’m not convinced that leaving is “easier” though.
Even when you leave a terrible job behind you’ll wonder if they are coping, or perhaps getting the blunt end of the karma they deserved.
A part of you inevitably stays behind.
leaving a house behind is wondering whether the new owners will understand how much effort you took to repair the stairs and maintain the garden.
You can’t leave a lover without wondering who they will be with after your departure.
Everything you leave behind becomes everything you take with you.

If you were to leave this world today very few people would be bothered by your historic achievements or legacy, except those who knew you intimately.
But even then, the lingering memory of who you “were” would pretty much be the perception of who you “are” today.

Who are we today, and what are we this very minute?
And then there’s an even better question— Who are we to those we currently share space and time with?