This item originally appeared in the February 3, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.
I'm no good at goodbyes. They scare me. I'm more of a see ya later kind of girl.
When I was in elementary school I always made friends with the military brats, and I was finding myself always saying goodbye to them. Each goodbye was met with a hug and an "I'll see you later," or an "I'll write you everyday."
Since then I really haven't had to say goodbye to anyone important in my life.
Well, that is about to change Wednesday. My friend, Jep, is leaving on a jet plane and I don't know when he's going to be back again.
I met Jep through my boyfriend, Patrick. They have been best friends since junior high. I was nervous about meeting him and even more nervous about what he would think of me. And of course, we didn't hit it off, but after we tagged along on Patrick's family beach vacation we started warming up to each other. Since then Jep and I have become friends.
Jep joined the Air Force last summer. It was a shock to everyone when he told friends and family he was dropping out of college to join the military.
When I heard the news about his plans for the future I was worried.
I didn't know what the heck he was getting himself into, but I had a feeling he was going to be OK. I decided instead of convincing him to stay in college, I should stand behind his decision and support him in whatever way I could.
When it came to say goodbye to him when he left for basic training, I had to be strong. I hugged him, told him to take care of himself and didn't shed one tear because I knew if I would start crying I just wouldn't be able to stop.
While he was being trained to be a soldier during those hot months in June and July, I was having fun and relaxing in the lazy sun. He was being trained how to assemble a gun, while I was being trained how to cook tater-tot casserole.
Five days before his birthday, Jep will pack his bags and move to Germany. I know he's not going to the front lines, or on some secret covert mission, but I am still scared for him. Sure, he's almost 21 and can make it on his own, but he will be thousands of miles away from the people who love and care for him the most.
Telling Jep goodbye will be tough because it's always hard telling a friend goodbye, especially when you don't know when you are going to see him again.
When telling someone goodbye you always have so much you want to say, but the words don't seem to come at the moment you need them the most.
And it ends up going something like this: "Uhh be sure to call when you get there, and don't forget to take your vitamins."
I know my farewell is not going to be as sad as saying goodbye to a soldier who is going to Iraq. Many students across campus have felt the pain of this goodbye, and I don't know where they find the strength to tell their loved one goodbye not knowing if their soldier will come back alive.
So, I don't know how my goodbye with Jep will go. I don't know if I the tears will roll down my face while I hug him, or if I'll wait to cry. I just hope he knows how proud his friends and family are of him.
I hope he knows how much he means to us, and how we will always support him. I know he knows how much I care about him, but I hope he doesn't forget it.
I hope he has fun but but won't go too crazy on the Guinness. And lastly I hope he knows how much we will miss him.
Goodbye, Jep, I'll see ya later.
Jordan Marshall is a junior journalism major from Shreveport and serves as senior news editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.