September 23, 2015 - "Happy Birthday"
You would have turned 50 today.
By now you would have already received whatever crazy birthday cards I’d have sent you. You’d be working at the frame shop this morning when I’d call you to wish you a “Happy Birthday”. At some point during the conversation I would tease you about being half-a-century old… and then remind you that you’d officially be a senior citizen when Liliana is old enough to move out of the house.
Maybe you and Angel and the girls would be going out to dinner tonight… maybe there’d be a cake at home… but there’d be no party thrown, because you said you didn’t want one. You wouldn’t be going on a nice birthday vacation either, because you said no to that as well. You said that what you really wanted for your birthday was another watch. I’m sure that you had a very specific one in mind too… especially considering that you chose “getting another freakin’ watch” over “going on a vacation”. I wish I knew what watch it was that you wanted so badly… I’d buy it and wear it just for you, even if it was one of those crazy Invicta watches with huge-ass dials which you liked so much and which we all thought were way too big to be comfortable for anyone to wear.
I would be coming down to Stamford this Saturday for Caitlynn’s ballet class… and I would have come to the frame shop to bug you until it was time to pick her up. You’d probably be working in the back room… or you’d be sitting behind the front counter tinkering with one of your watches. I’d give you a hard time about how messy your workbench was… and I’d probably ask you how on earth you are able to find anything in all of that mess. I might even give you a hard time about how many freakin’ frame corner samples you had… asking how many more you were planning to try to cram into that place.
We’d talk about our families. I’d ask you how Angel and the girls were doing… and you’d probably tell me that they were good… but that they were fucking driving you crazy. I’d say that Caitlynn and Brandon were pretty much doing the same to me. We’d talk about stupid stuff… nothing special. The Mets might come up in conversation… as would some sort of a fart reference. I’d tell you about the Stevie Wonder concert that’s coming up at Madison Square Garden and about how I wished that I could go, but that tickets are just way too damn expensive… and then you would tell me, yet again, how amazing “Songs in the Key of Life” is and start talking about how well it was recorded and mixed. Somehow after that we’d end up talking about James Brown and Maceo Parker. We always ended up talking about James Brown and Maceo whenever we’d have a conversation about music.
Eventually it would be time for me to go pick Caitlynn up from her dance class. I’d try to convince you to meet up later for dinner… but you’d say no, that you had to get home. We’d hug each other… say “Love you, Bro”… and tell each other that we’d be in touch soon. As I’d be walking out the door I’d yell to you to water your damn plants.
The thing is… none of that is going to happen. Not today. Not Saturday. Not ever.
Instead I’ll be sitting at home all day today… wishing I could call you. I’ll put your Movado on my wrist… desperately clinging to some part of you. Tears will be rolling down my cheeks as I listen to a mix of James Brown, Maceo Parker, Stevie Wonder and The Doors - all while thinking of you. Saturday I will not be coming by your shop… instead I’ll be at your house, helping Angel and the girls with things before going to St. Matthew’s for a Mass being celebrated for you.
Tonight though, I’ll be escaping… going out as soon as I’m able to… just because I need a distraction from today…
… But no distraction will be good enough. Not today. There isn’t anything that could possibly get you off of my mind today…
… or tomorrow…
… or the next day…
… or the next.
I know - with no uncertainty - that you are up there… looking down on us… smiling.
I just wish I could see that smile one more time.
I miss you so damn much!
Happy Birthday, Bro!
I love you!
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