A Long, Sad Good-byeI rode in the back of a stationwagon, along a road with wide, open dried meados, under a heavily overcast sky. (I don't remember who was driving.) It was at a university somewhere in South Dakota. Each section of the university was far from each other and could only be reached by car or bus. The car parked at a group of buildings, rectagular, flat-topped, and three-storied.
Next, I was inside one of them, on the ground floor, in a spaceous room, with many huge windows. Thru the windows I could see the road by which I had arrived. It was intersected by another, forming a "T". Around that intersection were road signs, bus stop benches, and a few people standing around. Across the other road were more buildings; one including a grocery store and a diner.
Inside the room was like a library; lush carpeting on the floor, bookcases under the windows, and tables and easy chair everywhere. A few people sat around reading. No lights were on so the grayness of the sky filled the room.
At one table, Sisack (a Thai computer programmer and a co-worker of mine) stood over a printer. He handed me a huge section of a print-out and said "This is for you" or "This one's yours." I was my last day as a student and a worker at the university but I hadn't completed all my work. So I was to take all the print-outs for my job, finish them elsewhere, then mail them back to the school. I was feeling very sad about leaving. I had become comfortable in my routines and grown fond the of the land and the people. But I had graduated so it was time for me to move on.
In the Art Department, where low-hanging fluorescent lamps lit tables, benches, and reddish wooden lockers lining the walls, I gathered my things from my locker. Nearby was a woman, with whom I was in love. She was working on a project on one of the long tables. She had long, wavy hair, which spread over her shoulders, a freckled face, and a heavy gray sweater. I was especially sad to leave her. I may never see her again. I didn't want to say good-bye to her.
With all my things in the stationwagon, the driver pulled out. We moved down a different road than the one by which I arrived. That one connects different parts of the university; this one leaves the campus. I looked back at the brown building, wreathed by yellow-leafed trees. Across the street people lined up at a movie theater.
Most vivid was the prevalence of gray and intense sadness. The feeling persisted for some time after awakening. Most notable was the simplicity of the setting and the vastness of space. It gave a comfortable feeling which I hated to leave.