In response to Word High July the snippet below is inspired by the Filipino word ‘pahimakas’ or ‘last fairwell’. It’s part of a series charting the impact of the discovery of intelligent life in space on five ordinary people over the course of a month. Enjoy!

Image taken from Buzzfeed: “36 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The Philippine Language”. All credits goes to them.


“Are you sure about this? You and Adam loved this place, Irene.”

Irene rolled her eyes and carried on packing up a box of kitchen utensils. Sarah meant well, but the little apartment in Sydney should have been emptied and sold a long time ago. Irene hadn’t been able to face it since Adam passed, but it felt right to move on and to let go of a place that she would never share with him again.

“I’m sure and the memories we made here were enough to last a lifetime, it’s time someone else has the same opportunity,” she replied, examining a novelty corkscrew she couldn’t remember buying. “I think I need to have a junk sale or something, I don’t even know why we owned half this stuff! Maybe when I’m back from my trip?”

She tossed the corkscrew into a large box of random items and dug back into the draw of implements. Having been without so many of the items for so long she began to seriously consider the practicality of trucking it all back to her home in the Blue Mountains.

“So you’re still going then?” Sarah asked, her voiced sounded a little off and Irene glanced from her task to find Sarah staring at an old photo of everyone at the beach.


Her friend looked up at Irene and smiled sadly.

“I loved him too you know,” Sarah said. “Not like you, of course. But in my own way, as friends, and I miss what we all had. I thought we’d been so lucky to have the chance to grow old together, old people moaning about bloody kids getting on our nerves.”

Irene sighed, her chest tightening the same way it had a thousand times over the past year. But she’d done a great deal of soul searching since she’d begun to come alive again and thought she had a little wisdom to share with her friend.

“I wasn’t sure I could be anything but a shell of a person after Adam died,” she admitted. “Oh sure, I went about my day, I saw people. And I felt nothing. But I realised recently that there’s still so much life out there, the world will keep turning whether I’m part of it or not. And I do want to be part of it, because as long as I’m really living then it feels a little bit like Adam is living too.”

Sarah nodded but kept her face turned from Irene, just as she had when they were teenagers and argued. Setting aside the box of utensils, Irene took her friend by the shoulders and pulled her into a firm hug. She felt Sarah shudder against her, body tense and was pushed away.

“I’m sorry, it just feels so final. Like selling this place is a last goodbye,” her friend explained and gave a watery smile. “Let me pull myself together, no more bloody drama. I promise.”

The sentiment hit close to home but Irene nodded and waved Sarah out of the room. She looked around the apartment, memorising the moment and the chapter of her life that selling it would close. It took a moment to remind herself that it wasn’t the end of her story, just another beginning.


3 thoughts on “Pahimakas

  1. Interesting piece Sam. So Irene was the wife but was Sarah an affair, or another woman who always loved Adam, who stayed a close friend? There’s something going on btw Irene and Sarah a dynamic, and it has to with Adam. I liked your take. Both they’re goodbyes to Adam are final, no question there. This would be an interesting story to see what happens next.


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