As much as I love endings in fiction, endings in real life frighten me. Hugging and saying goodbye to Shera and Jill on Sunday morning was almost too much for me. This little adventure we’ve been on together for the past two years had come to a close, and the future for our little gang was uncertain. Shera was flying back to Missouri that afternoon and Jill might be leaving Cambridge by the end of the summer. There was talk of reunions to come, but I felt the need to savor every moment of each goodbye as if it really were a stamp of finality, as if this really were the end.

When I got back to the hotel after breakfast, I was decidedly down. Thankfully, Stephanie had already packed our bags and all that was left to do was to carry them downstairs and wait for Mom and Dad to arrive. When they did, we hoisted our luggage into Mom’s Intrepid and I sulked in the backseat, unsure of what to do next.

Mom and Dad drove us back to their house, taking a scenic route which actually helped to calm my nerves a bit. But when we got into our own car to head home, all of my wounds, so startingly fresh, began to rear their ugly head. On the way back to our house, there was fighting and driving too fast and getting pulled over and I was afraid Stephanie might leave for Maine without me because of the things I’d said to her. Eventually, all was well.

We drove to Maine, hung with her family, and ended up watching fireworks in a nearby town that night. On the way to the fireworks, we almost ran over a stray chihuahua running across the road. On the way back, I drove slower.

But, I couldn’t get my mind off of my friends the whole day. Sadness… melancholia… there isn’t a strong enough word for that feeling that sat deep in my gut. It was over. It was really over.