Secret Pop

Mar 2, 2005

"Saying goodbye. Why is it sad?"

The final episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine aired today on SpikeTV. I watch the two episodes of DS9, and sometimes the subsequent two episodes of STTNG, when I'm at home working. I often opt to have things on the television that are familiar enough that I don't feel tempted to pay too much attention to them but also pleasing to me in some way. Star Trek is perfect for this.

The season 7 episodes of DS9 have been airing in order, and that has created the mounting sense of everything coming to an end for weeks now. I watched these episodes in their original airing in 2000, keeping my Sunday nights free or setting my VCR accordingly. And I remember watching this episode -- this ending -- and feeling my eyes well up and my skin tingle. Just like now. Even the memory of endings is painful. The absence of hope that things will continue. Being left to create your own imaginary narrative. If you believe the characters live on somewhere. If you want to believe that.

I'm always saying goodbye. Always leaving. Always having to let go of everything familiar. Even if we're just talking about skin cells. This whole (accursed) existence is just a series of short bursts of connection that eventually come to an end. Paths cross and uncross. Jobs end. Students matriculate. I even feel sad when I get to the last page of a book. I don't tell myself that I would like for anything to last forever, but I secretly wish for the possibility that anything might. And living in the absence of all that I would want to pull in close and embrace is exactly what I like the least about growing up. How does everyone maintain such an unstooped posture in the face of all that draws you back. I feel it so mightily, I can barely stand up at times.

What a liar the passage of time makes of me. All the promises I've made. I will always this. I will never that. This will be true forever. My track record is spotty with such offerings. They were not all pie-crust promises. But they were all eventually broken. Or will be. I don't know how such things came so easily.

I have this episode on a VHS tape somewhere. It aired just a couple of months before I invested in a TiVo. But I don't watch it. And, though I have the entire series on DVD, I have shied away from watching season 7. Because I was sure that it would be too vigorous a tugging on those old dumb strings. But I'm glad to have seen it today. Even today.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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