Sunday, July 9, 2017

Mattress On the Floor

Up really early on Sunday morning to take Johnny to the airport to conclude his week-long visit.

I headed down to wake him up (they had planned on staying up all night), but when I checked in the guest room, the bed was not only empty, the mattress was gone.

The same thing happened on Saturday.

Johnny had moved the mattress into Sam's room and placed it on the floor beside his cousin's bed.

So they could spend time together even when they're sleeping.

"Get up," I told Johnny. "You have to be in the car in 10 minutes."

I went back to the kitchen and poured a coffee and thought about my younger days and all the moments I spent with Jeff...

...not wanting to be apart because we just loved each other so much.

My mind took me back to playing foose in my parents basement. Jeff used to crush me in that game, and yell out "He scores!" every time the ball went in my goal.

I swore under my breath.

But then I thought of Johnny and Sam and their week of togetherness again.

They'll be on the phone to one another by mid-afternoon.

Face-timing and laughing.

Best buddies.

And I Thank God for that. I really do.

But I couldn't help but feel cheated as I sipped my coffee.

Five minutes later I was back in the room.

"Johnny, you gotta' go!"

He picked his head up.

Groggy.

Like he didn't know what hit him.

"How about I stay?" he asked.

"Can't do it."

Thankfully, I got him into the car.

Bruce was on.

The Promised Land.

"Blow away the dreams that break your heart."

We chatted about his visit. He asked me about seeing Bruce so many times.

Recalling those memories stung a little too.

The sun was coming up on another day.

We cut across the parking lot and down the steps.

"Sure you don't want to take the handicap ramp, old man?" He asked.

So much like his Dad.

He got cheated way worse than me.

I stood at the gate and watched him work his way through the line to security.

"I'm good," he texted me.

"Gate 21," I answered. "You gotta' hustle."

He got to the front of the line and where I was standing.

"I'll see you soon, buddy," I said.

He didn't answer.

Just hugged me.

I saw the sadness in his eyes as I tried to hide my own.

I waited until his bag was scanned and his shoes were back on. He was hustling. He disappeared around the corner and I walked back to the car.

The sun was fully up.

My head hurt and I felt tears stinging my eyes.

I swore under my breath.

Got back in the car for the trip home.

Alone.

Swore again.

Bruce was there.

Mary's Place.

A song written about people surviving the loss of their loved ones on 9/11.

"Your love and grace surrounds me."

I thought about the mattress on the floor.

And

I smiled.

The love between Sam and Johnny is tremendous.

Hope they get 60, 70, or 80 years out of it.

Because it's no fun to lose it.

And I considered all the garbage things that distract us from the love we feel for those we care about the most.

"Your love and grace surrounds me."

Indeed.






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