If you could see me now, would you recognize me? Would you remember my name? Would you be proud or would you rear back in shock?
I remember when I would sit on that triangle of wood up in the trees, calling down to you with a smile on my face. You would laugh before telling me to “be careful up there!” as you were cutting the fallen trees. After you finished, you would call me down, and we would get on that green and black four-wheeler and ride through the trail that seemed to stretch for miles, stopping in the many ‘treehouses’ and checking the little plastic house on the log. We would ride and ride, and the wind would always blow into my face before I buried it in your back, my arms around your torso, and you would just smile when you saw my hair flying back. Then, we would head back to that giant shed with the boat and the tools and that little green wagon. We would drive back to your house and walk to the ice cream parlor/diner, and you would get chocolate, and I would get bubblegum, and we would sit on the curb, listening to the sounds of the small town and looking at the garden with the trees across the street.
You would always take me to that small white building that looked like a tower to me. It was filled with all those different parts and pieces and that little office that you said mom spent most of her time. You would let me wander and look at the parts, listening to me come up with different names for each oddly shaped piece. Then I would see a ladder that I always dared to climb, and I would turn on that dial radio that was still on the same station that played country songs in the morning and baseball games in the afternoon. I would sit in the tiny wooden chair and “read” all of the different manuals with displays of the parts and what they look like put together. The books were scattered, and at one point I tried to organize them by color, but they were all white. I told you this, and you laughed and would say to me that they were manuals. I would always forget by the time we went there again.
I never told you this, but you were my hero. You were the one I looked to for comfort, and you always seemed to be there. You always understood me. You never judged me on my fears, and you let me be myself. You were there. But, I wonder what you would think if you could see what losing you did to me. I wonder if you would give me advice or just listen, wrapping me in your arms and letting me tell you what has happened since I saw you last like you used to. I wonder what you would think if you knew what goes through my head. All I had enjoyed seems dull now because I used to do it with you. I can remember reading a book on baseball by your bedside, holding your frail hand all through chapters one to fourteen. We would sit there; our hands intertwined as the Twins played on that TV screen. And that one time that we both fell asleep holding hands, the first time I had had a peaceful sleep in about a month.
Whenever I stayed with you, we would play games, and you would always encourage me when I lost. We would watch the Twins play, and you would try to explain the game to me. During the school year, you would drive me in that giant red truck that I always needed help climbing into. It smelled like you, the truck. It smelled like diesel, cedar, and the ground after it rained. I miss that smell. I miss those days spent with you. I miss holding your hand. I miss carving pumpkins, making sand castles, fishing, and reading. You taught me how to be myself. You helped me get up and ride my bike. You helped mom and I get by. I miss that.
And I miss you.