I’m here in the hospital listening to my grandmother softly snore. Thoughts of the past week swirl through my brain while I simultaneously attempt to fight off a headache. I remember the feelings I had when Mr. Past showed up to rescue Christmas dinner. This was before we realized Grandmother wasn’t “just tired.”
Instead of snow, brown leaves drifted down from the giant live oak tree underneath which my father and Nathan were attempting to fry a turkey. But with no propane in the tank they weren’t getting anywhere fast. Phone calls were made and with Mr. Past down visiting his own family he soon heard of our dilemma. And fifteen minutes later, there he was. Propane procured, looking better than he ever has. Ever.
When he hugged me hello it was tight but brief. Nathan was standing right there. As was my father. Our past is our secret. It wouldn’t do to let slip what we are to each other now. So what did I feel in those moments standing between him and Nathan? My past and my future? It was a twisted sort of nostalgia. One that longed for the simplicity of when we were everything to each other. Not just because of that magical season, but because of all that surrounded it.
Back then my grandfather was alive and healthy. My grandmother didn’t need to hold on the wall for balance. I had my whole life ahead of me with so many possibilities. Those things and more, I miss. But the twist to it is that now I have settled into a life path that I’m successful at and enjoy. I don’t want to ever have to relearn all the things one learns from 16 to 33. So while the ache for the old days and Mr. Past’s touch was acute, I shifted to Nathan’s side and place a hand briefly on the small of his back.
However, that would not be the last time I saw Mr. Past during my visit.
So here I sit, in the chair I slept in last night, in the clothes I slept in last night, composing my thoughts into words.