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  • Wojciech Salski

Farewell to Aber

Have you ever felt like a part of you have stayed with the place, the person, or the thing you had to leave behind…?

The boy boarded the train and looking out the window waved his friends goodbye. It’s about time his higher Self reassured his worried ego calmly, we’re on our way once more…


Over the five years of living away from his family home, the boy has become a part of the coastal town’s community, making himself feel ‘at home’ with the little end of the Welsh world he arrived at a while back. Initially, he came there to study, later he stayed there to work, and now he had to leave… Sitting down he felt the subtle, quiet acceleration of the train’s engine, as the vehicle moved along the platform leaving the boy’s friends behind. Express what you feel his creative muse patted his arched back, express what this means to you…

He opened the backpack, pushed a few items aside, and turned on the laptop taking a deep breath of novelty.


Day 1.

Arriving in Aberystwyth rarely involves different than the train means of commute. For the boy, this was also true. He arrived at the beginning of the academic year, leaving behind him Warsaw’s busyness, and London’s rush, once his pre-employment courses finished. He had a plan. He had a goal. He had an idea. Dragging his suitcases towards the taxi stand he felt excited. He was in a new place, which differed so much from all the places he lived in before. He was ready for this new adventure.


Day 97.

After the initial days of the academic year, the boy had already made plenty of great acquaintances, some of which would soon enough become friendships for life. He was still a fresher; he was still a nobody in this little town; he was still new to most of it. He joined a sports club, signed up for the preferred classes, and got his first job, which in its absurdity and lack of fairness was a great stepping stone on the way to understanding the marketplace and employment rights. The nights over this initial time were rather painful, as there was not much money in the boy’s pocket, which brought upon him the need for a better, more appropriate employment. He was absorbing it all. He was learning quickly. He had to.


Day 215.

The first year of Uni was almost done. It was about time to make the move again. With a few great friends, the kind that stays in one’s heart long after your paths divide, the boy moved into a house for the second year of adventurous studies in the land of heavy rains and sheep-filled hills. Coming back home for summer was soothing, but also revealing, as he quickly understood his future tightens its knots slowly but surely with the lands away from his place of origin. The journey has just begun.


Day 400.

Suddenly the boy’s efforts began to pay off. His persistence and dedication gained him the employment at the Sports Centre he so long wished for; his enthusiasm and work ethic enabled him to get onto the Kickboxing team and experience his first-ever championships. He didn’t get too far, but it was still further than any time before. He was making progress. Working two jobs, having more finances to contribute towards the pleasantries of one’s life, and studying what his heart desired, he was happier than ever before. The path seemed a little less rough to journey through. Day by day. Week by week. Month by month.


Day 621.

Christmas came early, as, in the late months of the second year away, he fell in love. Months of parties and training intertwined with days of romance and self-inquiry. The town suddenly felt closer to heart, the streets little more familiar to the mind, the world slightly cosier to the soul. Throughout this magnificent year, filled with joy and happiness, the boy had a chance to understand the many intricacies of the world’s stage, learning from his friends, his loved one, and his experiences. It was the year to remember, but are there any that could ever be forgotten…?


Day 708.

Creating projects for studies, travelling across Europe, spending time with people that enriched his heart, the boy broke many walls throughout his final year of university. The challenges undertaken quickly transformed into blessings, as it usually happens when one decides, acts and follows through with whatever one focuses their attention. Working three jobs, running a student sports club, and finishing his university commitments, he made a ‘quantum leap’ of both productivity and creativity. ‘We do the most when we have barely any choice’ he thought. It was too much. All of it at once. But it was also exactly, what his development needed. He kept hacking at the many bushes of uncertainty, obstacle, and trouble with the machete of passion. It had to be done.


Day 824.

‘If you want to master and learn a skill, make sure you teach it to others’ the boy noted, as the victorious sweat of championship trickled down his back. He led the team to the competition and won in his weight category. It was amazing. Coming back to his work he felt unbeatable. The persistence and effort paid tenfold, and he recognised that. It was about time to finish his degree when a chance from the Universe’s abundant symphony knocked on the door of his heart. By mere coincidence (if one believes in these) the boy signed up for the Student Representative elections, which if won, would bring upon him full-time employment secured even before his final mark was to be granted. It was a big commitment to add to his list of responsibilities, and it meant three weeks of non-stop effort if it was to be achieved, but it was also worth it. He convinced his dear friend to join him. He made the decision, cancelled a few work shifts, and embarked on the campaign’s adventure…


Day 847.

‘The winner never quits’ he whispered to himself, as the raging rain crashed its many tears against the boy’s face. He was walking up the hill to deliver a campaign speech. Another, out of tens he has already done. Another, out of tens that were still to be delivered. He knew the prize was worth the extra hustle. And as it usually happens, it takes persistence to achieve. And so, he pushed through.


Day 965.

With a job secured both for him and his friend, the boy had no time for a vacation. His degree was done, his works was submitted, his other jobs were left behind, and he was now working for the Union, ensuring that students who would come after him were able to experience the many amazing gifts of Aberystwyth’s life. Alongside an amazing team, he had a chance to put his creativity and enthusiasm to work. He was about to get to know this town he lived in for over three years now from a different perspective.


Day 1102.

Living the life of ‘nine to five’ the boy quickly realised the value of time and its management. Coming back home after work, he had to adjust the afternoons to fit the schedule of his heart’s desires. The morning routine and evening wind-down were introduced. He was still ready to party, but couldn’t allow himself to be as frivolous about his nighttime, as he used to be. ‘Having a proper job is certainly a serious adventure’ he chuckled sometimes over the phone, while his friend shared his own perspective of the ‘adult’, working life. The greatest aspect of his student-focused employment was that of teamwork and event organisation, and it was that, which would stay with him the longest. He left a little of himself in every new project he brought to fruition. It was a wonderful time. His friend granted him the present of a book, which soon became a life-changing item. He got interested ih the world within himself…


Day 1278.

Sometimes things do not go to plan. Sometimes tragedies touch one’s life. Sometimes the world just ‘flips the script’. It was one of those times. Over a weekend of celebration, the boy’s world shifted. Suddenly there were no mass events, no in-person activities, no time to party outside one’s mind. Suddenly each person had to accommodate their own time, without others around. The world stalled.


Day 1298.

The boy was advised to work from home. Staying with his flatmates and his girlfriend, he spent the first few weeks trying to settle the ‘new way’ of dealing with the daily chores. He was always very energetic and ambitious, and staying at home without a thing to do was slowly driving him insane. He decided to buy a whiteboard. A simple item, which managed to revolutionise his approach to the day. He wrote down his goals for the day, his habits to inhibit, his notes to remember, and one by one ticked them off creating a way of dealing with the shifted existence. At first slowly and with difficulty, he quickly gained momentum. Learning languages, writing every morning, practicing yoga, and meditation, the boy made good use of the time, which could have been completely wasted otherwise.


Day 1534.

After summer isolation, which luckily enough became a chance for the boy to spend time with his friends and family, he came back to Aberystwyth for his final year of employment. Since he won the job for the second time, he was there to stay yet another ten or so months. This time, in a pandemic environment. But he didn’t mind it too much. Over the summer, the boy came up with a few ideas – a few goals, which needed his attention, if they were to be done. He wanted to make the most of the time he had left in this beautiful place at the end of the Welsh world, but he also wanted to make his efforts count. Prioritising his ‘nine to five’ job, he placed his own creative endeavours in the second place and quickly got to explore them. He started collating a book to be published, he began podcasting, created an artistic website with a blog, and embarked on the search for a new, next chapter job. His last year was to be the most intense, most productive, and most fruitful one.


Day 1777.

Months of writing, weeks of editing, and days of publishing have come to an end, as his first-ever book arrived at the online shopping platform. He felt fulfilled for a moment, only to discover that there is no more enjoyment to success than that found in the process of striving. It was just the beginning. Working with the amazing people across the Union and the University, he had an opportunity to create a few new initiatives and online-based events, which were to provide entertainment to the student body. His job transformed into more well-being, office-based one. He struggled with this fact at first, but as an adaptable human he was, he only struggled for a while. His podcasting career, alongside his blog, brought to fruition many amazing opportunities. The boy’s creative writing career was gaining momentum.


Day 1825.

The last day in his beloved coastal town arrived quickly. His work contract was coming to an end, so was his rental agreement. He was to leave. He had to leave. Looking back at the many blessings of the time spent in Aberystwyth, the boy stepped out of his house and shut the door with a loud click of the self-locking mechanism. He was leaving for real, and he didn’t really comprehend it yet. His last year went by spent on the bonfires, late evening recordings, early morning writings, and many walks across the vast planes of the green Welsh coast. He felt like he made the time count.


The boy looked at the written words realising that it is futile to retrospect and give the appropriate grace to the events that shaped the person he was today. Everything that happened before led to this day. Everyone that crossed the boy’s path placed a little piece of a puzzle in his heart. Everything that he experienced became a part of him.


Have you ever felt like a part of you have stayed with the place, the person, or the thing you had to leave behind…?


The question echoed through the halls of the boy’s mind, as he sat there in the train, somewhere on the border between England and Scotland, somewhere between the known and the unknown, sometime between then and now.


I feel I left plenty of them he whispered, and I have taken plenty away…

The wheels bounced softly against the metal tracks of the railway, as the boy’s heart and mind wandered. The cycle of the old and the new continued, leaving behind each one’s life a trail of presence – a trail of experience. Although it was obvious that one day, there will be time to go, the boy didn’t see it coming until the day arrived. Everything is temporary he reminded himself squeezing the watch, as if the time could be stopped in its gears just for a moment, everything is only now…


His body sat stiffly in the uncomfortable chair of the second-class coach, as his eyes gazed out there, to space yet to be discovered, beyond the horizon of his comprehension. We only grow when we’re outside our comfort zone his mind reasoned, now show me how you’ll grow…


In the end, there are only memories. In the end, there are only experiences. In the end, there are only cities, towns, villages, streets, paths, parks, shops, schools, universities, houses, flats, classmates, workmates, friends, lovers, bosses, teachers, students, fans, role models, rainy afternoons, sweaty middays, sleepless nights, sleepy days, early mornings, late parties, wasted hours, broken glasses, swallowed pains, ecstatic moments, soundless whispers, loud beats, flashy lights, moody movies, gracious girls, and effortless pages of text, which cannot offer more but a glimpse into what was, what is, and what will be...


So, we part, I guess I shall say – farewell my dear place,

Farewell dear companions, farewell my life’s base,

On the road, yet again,

On the road we all are,

Although I might not be here no more,

I will never be far…

Whichever path we take, whichever bridge we cross,

Wherever road we choose, our heart is where we are.


Dedicated to all the people that made my time in Aber the way it was.

All the love,

Wojtek


Check out my book available on Amazon:

(Un)usual Stories: An uncommon perspective of ordinary life.: Amazon.co.uk: Salski, Mr. Wojciech, Druszcz, Miss Katarzyna: 9781838499709: Books


#prose #creativewriting #thoughts #reflective #farewelltoaber #lettertomytown #gratitude #thinking #living #writing #truestory #creativity #inspiration #thankyou #lettertoyou

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