This is my very last column for the Letters From a Destitute Youth series I’ve published here at Imperial Youth Review in the last year. It’s going to take a more personal and less philosophical approach, as it is my farewell to someone I was and everything I’ve known in the last 24 years of life.

I am leaving my little hometown of Joplin, Missouri tomorrow. All the horizons are vast and quite different than anything I’ve ever experienced. I will never see these memorized streets of this city or the people again.

It’s a strange feeling to visit locations you’ve been surrounded by your whole life knowing they will never be seen again. To be tapping your toes while waiting for those final hours on the highway, while watching the vague social network posts pile up from people you’ll never know. They scroll on by, all of these crushes that never bloomed, friends who became too busy with work/ school, those who started a family only to withdraw from the rest of the world, and all the acquaintances you wanted to know better, yet kept putting it off for some future time.

It’s all vanishing in front of me.

I will never speak to members of my family again, as they made the choice to end communication in this last week. It was always a joke among people around here that everyone comes back to this place, but there’s nothing to come back to. Out of the hundreds of people I’ve known here during my life, there was only a single friend who let me crash at his place for my remaining time (my main friends I spent time with moved to Seattle earlier this month). It kind of got me thinking how utterly alone this life has kept me. Whether it was because of superficial minds surrounding me or simply a natural demotion on the social ladder, I’ll probably never really know.

I remember you though. How you used to come over to drink beers at my apartment or we’d drive around in my car. I remember you from all the parties and local bar shows. I remember those times we had a great conversation over a cup of coffee. I remember those late nights in parks without anywhere to go. All those kisses and intimate nights with the pretty girls who somehow once liked me. I remember how you were once helpful during a very dark time. I remember how you abandoned me. I remember all my old best friends and the talks we had for the future. Futures which appear to be drastically different from everything once planned. I remember every person that said they loved me. I remember my wedding and all the vows broken, as well as how none of my friends or family were there. I remember all the schools and the life growing up with my many siblings. I remember these goodbyes.

Nothing left me, only took on a life in my head and writing. This is my goodbye to you, I suppose. They were the best of times and most G-d awful of times. It made me who I am though, so thank you for it.

The strangest thing will be going from all these memories clouded by the darker ones into a life of more potential, one with real fun daily, and constant wave of new people. A life without the cruelty of money and yet, focused on art. I hope I can adapt to it and finally become the person I’ve always wanted to be. I’ll finish regaining my health and finally be able to grow my projects. Maybe I’ll meet someone worthwhile to linger around.

There’s a whole new world of possibilities now.

It seems fitting no one would be there for me in my last days and how I am the only person doing what I do in this entire city, yet can’t even get a nod in the papers. It’s all on me now and I continue to grow on my own. There’s something like freedom in it. As when you’ve lost everything and everyone, the only possession left is a new life.

This is farewell to you, Joplin and the people of this strange youth.

P.S: My new column series for Rucksack Revolution just began at Literary Orphans.

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