This morning an old friend of my dad's called. He used to fly with him and occasionally my mom and I would go on trips with the two of them. I especially remember going to Wichita while my dad and his friend went to training classes. It was certainly windy but the pool was luxurious. We all met up for dinner and I ordered a salad that unbeknownst to me was covered in bleu cheese crumbles. I don't do moldy cheese.
"Something smells like dirty socks..." my mom said.
I barely touched the thing, prompting my mother to get onto my 11 year old self. "Have a taste," I suggested.
"Okay, you don't have to eat it..."
"That's what smelled like dirty socks! Come with me, Lauren. I've got something I think you'll like better," my dad's friend said.
There was a special little room reserved for pilots with plastic-card swiping access available. He made me a peanut butter sandwich and I was eternally grateful. He nicknamed me "Bleu Cheese."
On my 12th birthday my dad was gone on a trip. I got flowers in the mail in a slender dark blue vase. They were from my "Uncle Phil" as I affectionately called him.
I would have to say the last time I spoke to him I couldn't have been more than 14.
So this morning my dad handed the phone to me. We exchanged pleasantries and quips as if we had just spoken a few days before.
"What are you up to?" he asked.
"I'll be right over."
"I hope you like eggs!"
"My daughter is a sophomore English major. I guess I'm surrounded by all sorts of people in the know."
"Yes, and all with impeccable grammar!"
"That's exactly what this world needs."
"How old are you now?"
"Oh gosh. If you're 21 I'm a 100."
"Nah, you're forever young."
"You'd be good in sales..."
It's great to know there are people like him out there.
I've been enjoying these sweet last few days of summer. I run everyday. I always think about things when I run. It seems like we're always playing games even when we don't intend to. People count calories hoping, that like a slot machine, the numbers will align and that they will lose weight. People go to college and sometimes, mindlessly sit through classes, hoping to get an A to further themselves in their future careers. Other times people refuse to text until being texted first. All of this is in the hope that we will be successful and have the last laugh in terms of lost loves, naysayers, and the general doubt we face. But why do we have to have the last laugh? Is it really that important to "come out on top," while comparing ourselves to past selves and long-gone relationships? Doesn't this imply that we're truly not over it all?
At the end of the day, at the end of life when we can feel the inevitable breeze of death's breath, all that matters is that we were able to smile because of what we have achieved; not because we have outshone another or because it makes us look good. But rather because we have loving people in our lives that don't forget about us, even after 7 years, like Uncle Phil.
"You've done good, kid. I always knew you would, even when you were younger..." he said.
After all this time I am happy to maintain my relationships with the people who have truly made a difference. I am especially happy to be in a completely monogamous and fulfilling relationship right now... with myself, haha.