“I’m glad you’re here!”
I was caught off guard as i walked back into the house after phoning Mo from the porch. He had been eating breakfast, saw me through the window, and came walking around to the door.
I’m glad I’m here, too, I replied.
it’s the end of another week of hanging out with my brother. We finished off the ice cream by the second day. We’ve walked our loop enough times that we could do it with our eyes shut. Which explains how I led him into heavy traffic this afternoon. F-150s are big up close. We only set the kitchen on fire once, and made it the entire week with almost no dogs lost. What more could you ask for?
Brother the younger and his lovely bride are here, ready to help us out when the wheels fall off. June, of course, is 24-7, and Mo is just a 911 call away. We make a good team.
It’s funny. Rick doesn’t say much these days. I’ve been reading dementia books nonstop trying to figure things out. The most optimistic solution I’ve found is that it’s just a different reality. Carlos Castaneda and Haruki Murakami wrote of different planes that we can’t see. Maybe that’s what this is all about. I can hope.
And then there are those moments of clarity. We’re driving through the neighborhood and we come across an old decrepit house with an overgrown lawn. “That house is scary,” he says. Indeed.
And he’s sitting in his chair when June walks in. He jumps up, hugs her and says “I love you.” My heart melts.
June told me a while ago that there is joy amid the sadness. Maybe I’m starting to understand. Rick and I had never spent enough time together, the result of busy lives and too much distance and the “there will be time for that later” syndrome. Now, I see him all the time. That same smile, an occasional twinkle, still taking the last of the Hershey bars.
While out on our evening walk, we were greeted by the president of the Smith Boys Walking Club. We talked for a minute in the middle of the road (did i mention that this wasn’t our safest hike?) As we were saying goodbye, she said “you’re lucky to have him as a brother.” In unison, we replied, “yes, I am.”
We still have a bunch of Sonic milkshakes down the road. Maybe next time he won’t drink mine. And if he does, that’s OK. No, dammit, it’s not. Stay away from my shake. You have to draw the line somewhere.
Where do we go from here? I’m not really sure. Probably Sonic. The best adventures are the ones where you don’t know how they will end.
“I’m glad you’re here.” I will cling to those four words forever.