Saying Goodbye

My student and our classmate Ting Ting just came into class and told us she has to leave the class to go work full time at her family's business in Flushing, Queens.
This made me want to cry. I stopped myself because I was embarrassed to cry in class.
I remembered that all of us in this class are immigrants. We have lots of feelings about saying goodbye because we have said goodbye so many times.
Many times we had to say goodbye in a hurry like today, or not at all. So we've never had the chance to shed all our tears. We had to pick ourselves up and keep going. We always had so much to think about that we had to jump over the sadness. And sometimes, an unexpected goodbye brings up the feelings from goodbyes that happened long ago.
I remember one of my saddest goodbyes was when my family left Cuba and I had to leave my dog behind. I remember seeing her chase our car up to a particular street light halway to the main avenue. She always chased the car as far as that light and went back home. Every time before we had always come back. I still can't bear the thought that there was no way my dog could know that this time we would not come back, that she would wait and wait and wait but we were never going to come home.
Even now fifty four years later, writing about this, I cry.