Would have been

Today my father would have been 87 years old.

Too many “would have been”s in my life right now.

Kim. Elena. My dad.

A year ago Maggie and I went out to Oberlin and spent time with dad in his hospital room.

He looked up and focused on the top-left corner of the room during much of our visit.

I’m not sure that he knew we were there with him.

We said goodbye to him, wished him a happy birthday, and went to dinner with my sister, brother, and mother.

I’m glad we were there. He lived another three months.

For years, I would stop and have birthday dinner with him on my way to a conference in Sandusky.

This is his first birthday he’s not here to celebrate with.

So today I went to a baptism.

The party afterwards was in one of those places that Kim had frequented.

Every Friday afternoon she and her college friends drank and had a good time in the basement of what is now Pizzaz near John Carroll.

Every Friday afternoon me and my teaching friends would sit upstairs in that same restaurant drinking and talking about the week.

Today I opened the familiar door and headed downstairs.

Once a week, Kim and I were twenty feet away from each other ten years before we’d meet.

I sat at a table with Kim’s parents. Her aunt Mary Kay came over and talked about Elena.

I love that.

Sitting where Kim used to sit, three years after I’ll never see her again, fourteen years after I’ll never see Elena again and they’re both there.

I smile at my father.

He would have been eighty-seven today.

Published in: on January 12, 2020 at 9:01 pm  Comments (1)