Seona Flanagan: World Class Traitor
I really should be cleaning right now. Or packing. Or getting myself ready to go out. It’s a Thursday that feels like a Saturday or a Sunday or a Monday. It feels like the start of something, but also the very end of something. It feels like I’m stuck in a bubble of time where time doesn’t even exist.
Let’s just go through some facts. It’s Thursday, I’m off work. Andrew’s away working. I work tomorrow, and on Saturday. So it’s not the end of the week for me. It’s somewhere in the middle. But yesterday was Seona’s last day at work, so in a way it felt like my last day at work. It felt like the end of things. Seona is probably the reason why I’m still working where I’m working, so to have her quit and not only quit work but go back to Europe is. Weird. Life as you know it, suddenly ending. I knew the day would come, but you can never prepare for endings.
Yesterday was Seona’s last day. She left the building with her Middle Fingers Up towards the corporate office before we took the bus to the pub. Met our boyfriends, played music bingo. Later today we’ll have a goodbye party for her. Right this second, I’m worried I won’t enjoy work anymore. Right this second, I’m worried that I won’t enjoy Vancouver anymore. Right this second, I’m worried that it’s always going to be this way: meeting friends, loving them, leaving them due to me going to a different country or them leaving me for the same reason.
A huge sadness in my life is that I’m always moving around. I don’t have a secure spot, a “home”, where I have all my friends collected. I will never live in a place where all the people I love will my neighbors. In my early 20s I met some of my best friends in Santa Barbara. I met one of my best friends there too, Jennifer. She’s like a sister to me at this stage, and in a miraculous way we still keep in touch. Daily. I would love to live close to her, to go over for coffee in the morning, to just chill in front of the tv in the evenings. Or talk until late hours on her patio, walk our dogs together. But most likely that won’t happen. It’s a dream that seems so real to others, so basic in its form, but I just know that it will probably not come to that. Our friendship and love will always be from a distance. We will be depended on texts and calls.
After Santa Barbara, I went to Ireland. Met people there that I will probably consider friends my whole life. Friends you share every day with. I met Andrew, of course. A friend who will always be right next to me hopefully. At least I’ll always have him physically close by. But other people I had to leave behind, people that I met through work, who I spent perhaps more time with than I did with Andrew. Cause that’s what you do at work, or in college. You spend time with your friends. You do a bit of working as well, but most of the time you just hang out. It’s not an ideal situation, but sometimes the people you meet at work or college becomes your very best friends. Because they know everything about you, every mood swing. They can tell straight away as you enter the door how you’re feeling. I will forever miss some friends in Dublin. Paul and Abi for example. I will probably never live close to them again, I will never share the every-day stuff again. And it saddens me.
It’s been like this since I was 15 and I first moved away from home. I keep leaving places and people, or they leave me. Because the friends that I do find are usually people like me, people on the move. That’s what we have in common, how we connect. Like Seona, an Irish girl with her English boyfriend. Their home is Scotland, but now they live in Vancouver. Until Saturday that is, when they leave again. And life will never be the same, we will only ever have the past couple of months we spent together. We will have other times, too. When we meet in Europe. But life will be different. This life, this everyday relationship we have had for half a year, will have ended.
I know how to say goodbye to friends, to end chapters. I’m used to it. It doesn’t make it easier though, and this one is a particularly hard one. Seona going back to Europe is pulling some very strong strings in my, ropes even. I know I will make the same journey later. I hope I won’t spend the time between now and then just longing to be back, to Europe. Closer to “friends”, pointing out the lack of them here. Right now, it feels like my dreams and goals are just big old myths. Me saying to my brother and sister and cousin and best friends that one day we’ll live close to each other! And until then we will keep in touch, daily, often, about everything. It works for some people, it doesn’t work for others and there’s no way of knowing beforehand.
I know that it takes commitment. I know that some people are only meant to be in your life for a certain amount of time. Some people you get really close to, can’t imagine a life without, and then they disappear and you survive. Some people you never talk to again. Some people you stay in touch with, like Jennifer. You grow up together with them. If it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.
I don’t know how I’ll feel working where I’m working without Seona there. I know that only time will tell. I know it’s not the end of the world. But I also know that I’m allowed to be sad and worried, those feelings are valid. I’ll be missing Seona so, so, so much. I’ll miss her intelligence and humour. I’ll miss getting to know everything about her day; how she’s feeling, what she’s eating, when she goes to the bathroom, what she discussed with her other friends or boyfriends or all the tv shows and films she watched. I’ll miss reacting to whatever’s going on in the world and knowing she’ll agree with me, I will miss exchanging looks when other people are doing/saying something stupid. I’ll miss her how her voice changes when she gets drunk, I’ll miss how absolutely unapologetic she is. She’s got no fear, no time for bullshit, but she’s still filled with more love and sympathy towards others than most people in this cruel world. She’s my favourite type of woman. We all need to be more like Seona Flanagan, despite being a world class traitor.
DISCLAIMER: Seona Flanagan is actually not a traitor at all and is leaving Canada for personal family reasons because she’s a person of love who doesn’t have a single bad bone in her body. So I can’t really be mad. But I’m a little bit mad.