The car was candy red. My eyes stared past the surface. I felt them sting and I blinked a few times.
Did you know my mother never came home from the hospital after I was born? And they were never close, my dad with her family. They all drifted apart over the years. There was anger, sadness. I don't know what it was, exactly.
And my life was a dad, a sister and brothers. I didn't think to ask questions, it was just the way it was. And no one ever really explained what happened.I took a breath.
But I felt self-conscious as I hit my teenage years. People who knew her were spooked by my uncanny resemblance to my mother. People I'd never met would tell me things about her. Things that I didn't know about someone I should have been familiar with.
Did you know that I would stop at Grandma's house now and again on my way to and from college? One time my uncle was there and we spent hours talking. And he said to come visit him out in California anytime, he'd love to have me.
He repeated the offer in Christmas cards. I can't believe I didn't go visit him until nearly 17 years later. After two family funerals. After he moved to Phoenix.
And you know, once I started visiting, it became a yearly ritual. Phoenix gave me warm spring days riding my bicycle in the desert sun. It gave me the smells of blooming cacti during the depth of Minnesota winters. And my uncle gave me an understanding of my mother and of her life and ultimately of myself.
And did you know...you know he's receiving hospice care now. I'm losing the one who fit all the pieces together for me. I thought he'd be here forever.
Neither, I answered.