by E.B. Gula
In each stage of life, we encounter people who breeze past us so quickly that their existence is almost dreamlike. Their presence fades away, but the impressions last for an eternity. The memories remain branded in our minds, taking on the quality of a pleasant tingle, or in other cases, a painful sting.
It is with utmost regret that I say farewell, an inevitable consequence of our diverging paths. I will look upon our encounter with fondness, for the admiration I felt for you is unparalleled. My dear professor, you changed my life. Even though I am one of thousands you have encountered, just as you are to me, some stars shine brighter than others and I’ll never forget your blinding light.
University has the potential to drive one to despair. Students brave the relentless academic deadlines, the mental burden, and the financial instability for an uncertain future. At some points, the path to success was nearly unbearable. I regretted my choice of major, I doubted my abilities, and I wasn’t sure if I would make it to the end. You gave me something to look forward to. Your bright passion amidst the dullness of my surroundings lit a fire under me. Your kind words pulled me out of a sinking hole. You meant the world to me, yet never once recognized it. I could never voice these feelings aloud, unable to convey how you effortlessly encouraged me to follow my dreams.
I will miss the way your eyes shine with glee whenever something amuses you. I will miss the way you laugh to break moments of awkward silence. I will miss your charming smile and the hum of your voice when you speak my name. I know that our paths were only meant to cross for a brief time. I always knew that. Even so, your absence afflicts me, and I bite back tears that should never be revealed. Because in some strange way, I loved you, and I have always been aware that sharing this knowledge would ruin us. For that same reason, I never intend to send you this letter.
Au revoir. The last words spoken, yet the words imply “until we see each other again.” However, this door is closed, and the key to unlock it has been cast aside. I will move on, but you will forever remain in my heart as a bittersweet memory and one of my greatest inspirations. Perhaps in some distant day in the future, our lives will intertwine once again, and I can repay you for all you have unknowingly given me.
With all my love,
Your Loyal Student