It’s been a while since we last talked. A little over a year in fact. And that just doesn’t make sense to me.
Because a year kind of seems like a long time. And there’s no way that phone call happened a year ago. The one the woke me up out of my post New Year hangover haze and interrupted my binge session of Friends. The one telling me that you were dead.
Yikes. That’s such an awkward word to use in a sentence, “dead.” Especially when I’m forced to use it in a sentence about you. Because it’s a new adjective that up until a year ago I would have never used to describe you. Similar to the verb “died” but not quite as bad. Because when I say “died” I admit that what happened, happened in the past. And I force myself to come to terms with that fact that you’ve really been dead for a year now. And that’s weird.
It’s been a year since we’ve last talked? Since we caught up on my travels and your hunting? Since you’ve asked me how I was liking work? If I was still taking Mandarin (I speak Spanish)? How mom was? It’s been a year since I’ve rolled my eyes when you started one of your rants? About how the price of silver, or buffalo nickels, or Hess trucks is going up and that I should buy them by the box full? It’s been a year.
It really has been. A year’s gone by since you’ve been gone. Since I last said hi. Making this hello long overdue. But it’s not that I haven’t tried to reach out already – once a few weeks after we last talked, and another time on your birthday – it’s just that I wasn’t ready to yet. Too busy. Too tired. Too surprised that I still couldn’t seem to find the words that I needed to say to you.
But I’ve found them. It may have taken me a year to do so, and they may not be much, but I have them now. Just three of them: I miss you.
I know, I’m as surprised as you. A year ago when we last talked, it would have been weird if I said I missed you. We just never talk, or talked, like that. But it’s true.
I miss the phone calls I never thought I’d miss. I miss telling you about the trips that you thought I was crazy for taking. I miss you checking in on me when I was sick. Being able to call you when I was irritated. And getting advice from you I knew I’d never use.
I even miss hearing the hunting stories I never wanted to hear. I miss getting annoyed when you called at the wrong time. Being bored when you went on and on about your dogs. I miss getting angry when you would tell me how awful a place Philly was and that you couldn’t believe I still lived here.
I miss you. And being able to talk to you. When I wanted to. And when I didn’t. I miss you when an old friend asks how I’m doing, and I brush off missing you with a “fine.” Or when someone new asks about you, and I push away missing you with awkward words like “died” or “dead.”
I’ve missed you over the last year. And I miss you now. And I thought it was finally time for me to reach out and tell you that. Because I refuse to be surprised by another year that passes by without me saying hi.
Happy New Year, dad. I miss you.
P.S. I’m thinking about planning a trip to Cuba. Don’t get mad.