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I don’t like goodbyes. No one does.

I think I handle them a little less well than others around me. If I know there’s a goodbye on the cards, I go into ‘shutdown’ mode. I don’t think my parents have worked that out yet, or at least not both of them. I become harsh, unresponsive, unsympathetic, impatient. I basically turn into someone that they probably would be glad to see the back of. All I’m doing though, is playing out an idea in my head that, I do not want to feel sad when the time comes. “I don’t like these people, anyway,” I tell myself. I suppose the harsher my reaction, the more deeply I care.

Dad looks at me as if I’m not his little girl anymore, and I think my mum sort of understands. She watches and says very little.

I don’t want them to go back. It’s as simple as that and instead of feeling sad about it, I want to feel angry. Angry is a better emotion for me, I think. I’m angry for all sorts of reasons but mainly that everything’s different now. When they go, I’m a grown up again. Just a mother and wife with a household to be responsible for.

Just having them there makes me feel protected, sheltered.

Not having them there makes me feel the need to pretend to be stronger, fiercer, harder, older.

But they’ll be back or maybe, if I’m lucky I’ll get to visit them in the UK.

But until then, I suppose, this is goodbye.