Take a moment to say goodbye


Life of Pi (2012)

Adult Pi Patel: [voiceover, scene shows Mexican beach] I was so spent, I could hardly move. And so, Richard Parker went ahead of me. He stretched his legs, and walked along the shore. At the edge of the jungle, he stopped. I was certain he was going to look back at me, flatten his ears to his head, growl. That he would bring our relationship to an end in some way. But he just stared ahead into the jungle.

Adult Pi Patel: [in present, to Writer] And then Richard Parker, my fierce companion, the terrible one who kept me alive, disappeared forever from my life.

Adult Pi Patel: [voiceover, beach scene again] After a few hours, a member of my own species found me. He left and returned with a group who carried me away. I wept like a child. Not because I was overwhelmed at having survived, although I was. I was weeping because Richard Parker left me *so* unceremoniously. It broke my heart.

Adult Pi Patel: [in present again, to Writer] You know, my father was right. Richard Parker never saw me as his friend. After all we had been through, he didn’t even look back. But I have to believe there was more in his eyes than my own reflection staring back at me. I know it, I felt it, even if I can’t prove it. You know, I’ve left so much behind: my family, the zoo, India, Anandi.

I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go. But what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.

I was never able to thank my father for all I learned from him. To tell him, without his lessons, I would never have survived. I know Richard Parker is a tiger but I wish I had said, “It’s over. We survived. Thank you for saving my life. I love you, Richard Parker. You’ll always be with me. May God be with you.”


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