Facetimed with the middle sister and the niece and talked about dad but neither one of us mentioned that in a year of firsts tomorrow will mark the first birthday for her without him and the first Passover for all of us.
The funny thing about it is in some ways it will feel normal because when you live in different cities the days of celebrating every holiday together grew fewer and further apart.
They still happen but now they take work and coordination so sometimes you don’t manage to connect with the others but you don’t think about it because the reason you are apart isn’t something called death and there is a choice.
You or they could have flown one direction or another and joined in celebrating so being apart is noticeable but not as noticeable as when you no longer have the choice about who to be with and where.
I’ll check back in with little sister and harass her for being really old tomorrow because that is what big brothers do but I won’t hear from dad this year.
He won’t remind me to call her and suggest I be nice because my birthday is just a couple of weeks later.
I am flying down LBJ on my way into Dallas thinking again about how surreal life can be. One of the kids asked me if I remembered my first time here and I said more or less.
“You must be getting old if you have to think that hard.”
I smile and say 26 years is a lifetime and that is how long ago my first visit was. I remember lots of things about the trip but some of the smaller details are harder to recollect.
Did I fly into DFW or Love?
The internet has all sorts of nifty information so I figure Old Doc Google might hold some information that could spur memory and discover that I was wrong, my first trip to Dallas was in 1994.
That’s all a quick cursory search helps me discover and because it is not all that important I let it go and circle back to the present.
“Mr. Wilner, we need two signatures from you. Sign here and here please.”
I fill out the form but hesitate for a moment when it comes to my age. I don’t know whether to write 49.75 or 50. Neither is accurate and I like to be precise about some things.
I have a few minutes by myself and start reviewing the trip down LBJ in my head, thinking about how I didn’t bother with the GPS.
It is something I use less and less and though I am no where close to the familiarity of LA there is a much better internal compass and less need to scrunch up my face as I try to figure out where I am relative to where I live.
The lack of continued focus upon when and where I was when I first came to the Dallas helps and I recall a few more incidents and moments.
This trip is post Northridge earthquake and I am single. I am standing at the bar with a couple of work colleagues talking with a woman who is around my age.
She wants to know if I would consider living in Texas. I tell her I have the funny accent but no horse. She makes a face and asks if I surf and star in movies.
I say I have never been in a movie but I have been surfing and spent more than a few minutes at the beach.
“I don’t know if I could be landlocked. It is weird to be in a place where I can’t get to the ocean in a short time.”
That hasn’t changed, it is still weird.
Sometimes the words flow freely and your imagination fills in the framework of the picture I paint inside your head.
Occasionally I tap into something you relate to so strongly you reach out to let me know you appreciate the words upon the page and sometimes you tell me you hate what I wrote.
Interspersed are the questions in which readers ask if I can elaborate upon the posts because they feel like they are staring at a giant jigsaw puzzle in which pieces are missing.
I suppose I could fill in the blanks instead of providing a redacted copy but what fun would that be.
It is easier to write BJs, Notebooks, emails, Walk The Line through a Ring of Fire and go your own way to find Silver Springs.
Some of you will read that last line and spend hours trying to decipher a hidden message when nothing is truly hidden. You either know or you don’t and if you don’t you won’t.
This is what happens when the words don’t flow freely because in a year of firsts one sometimes gets discombobulated and disjointed.
Tomorrow night the silence will grow louder and more noticeable until it reaches a roar inside my head and I’ll have to concentrate on turning the switch down from 10 to 4.
One step farther from where and who we were and one step closer to who we’ll become.
Better read this quickly, I am unlikely to let it stand.