How can 2 years seem like forever and nothing at the same time?
It’s been a full year of the blandemic, and I think of how it would have impacted you. Particularly your last months of your life when you were hospitalized and in a nursing home. Had Covid-19 been a thing between November 2018 and February 2019 rather than November 2020 to February 2021, we wouldn’t have had the tragic privilege to spend endless days by your side.
Also, you would have been preoccupied by the news of the world. Civic unrest. Covid. Unusual weather variations. This would have been in line with your nickname “Drama King,” yet you would be silently gathering anxiety as the news floated by. And you certainly would not have been pleased by Mom’s inexplicable need to go out to get a haircut and to 4 different stores for milk and coffee during such dangerous times.
I can just imagine the e-mails now (in all caps and the biggest font ever because that was your modus operandi).
PAY, DID YOU HEAR ABOUT XYZ?
I won’t recant all the happenings since the last time I wrote you, but I feel like you need to know one of your favorite restaurants, Longhorn in Mount Olive, burned down. And Mr. Grieco died. He was only 68, so young, but confined to a wheelchair in his last years of life. I imagine the reunion of Mansel Drive neighbors in heaven—you, Mr. Grieco, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Kotarski.
If ANY fantastic news did come out of this year, it would be the fact that my New Zealand book, Between Each Step, finally published! Here’s what I wrote to you in the acknowledgements:
“Dad, you’d be so proud. You were always the #1 fan of my writing and set the example to be a voracious reader. I wish you could be alive to see my book in print.”
Here we are, another year without you. Rarity sharpens memory, so when I get a sniff of your cologne on your scarf or your razor (that Justin kept), it swells my ache for your physical presence and reminds me you are gone.