The Good Life
One, people who die should not talk to you after they're dead, because it freaks the shit out of you.
Not that they meant to. Today I called my ex-mother-in-law to tell her that I'll be picking up my son (who lives with her) from the airport tonight on his return from Manila. My ex-father-in-law, who passed away last April, answered the phone. "You have reached [their phone number]," he read off in a slow, measured, carefully-modulated tone (which, actually, he did use in real conversation during real life, because he was kind of weird that way). "Please leave your message after the tone."
My stepfather kept my mother's outgoing message on their voicemail for as long as he lived in their house. I guess I got used to it after a while, but it didn't sound like Mom: stiff, stilted, trying to speak clearly, professionally and coolly, since she ran her piano studio out of her home. In real life she was usually giggling.
Maybe she'd have laughed at the voicemail too, later. The first time I called and heard it, without warning, perhaps a month after she died, I took it like a punch to the gut, hung up the phone without leaving a message, and sobbed for an hour. There was no other recording of her voice, that I know of. Maybe four months ago my stepfather left the house and the phone number and moved on. It must have been erased now.
Two, my son is returning home tonight from a one-week trip to the Philippines - Manila, where some six months or so ago, he met a girl online. She's 24. He's 18. Am I thrilled about this? Not so much. Nonetheless, he saved up his money for the trip, he doesn't live with me, he's - more or less - an adult, or at least working on becoming one, in his own particular way. I want him to be happy. She does seem like a nice girl, and teaches English to Koreans over the phone. Most importantly, he had a wonderful time, learned from an experience I've never had (I have never been overseas - never!!) and he's coming back, tonight. I'm picking him up at the airport a little after midnight. He left Manila at 7:40 p.m. yesterday, my time. He's likely to be a scoche on the tired side.
Three, I am a scoche on the tired side already. Life is easy: friends and kindness abound, I want for nothing, even this weird leprosy shit on my neck and arm seems to be finally clearing up. But I'm just not happy. I'm tired. I'm sorry, I'm just ready for things to be a bit better soon, please, please?