“What is your plan? I know you have one.”
I shook her off, “no plans,” I said.
I hate this subject, but my friend always asks, then stares intently into my eyes, sometimes she will hold my face while she asks it.
I guess I hate it mostly because I hate the fact that I have no plan. That’s unacceptable, especially for me, a 52 year old man with grown kids, to not have a plan. But I don’t. Truly, I don’t have a plan. For the first time in my life, well if you really must know, for the past eight years, I’ve had no plans except to wake up.
Sure, I do plan to go to the grocery store, or to work, but beyond that, I’ve no plans.
Looking into the blue eyes of my dear friend, I can only look away.
The bartender looks my way, I nod and hold up two fingers.
Shortly, two more Margaritas arrive and to her credit, Joy, is still waiting, waiting for an answer.
I’ve known Joy for a long time, since high school. Whenever I come to DC, I call her and we reminisce, we have so many friends in common, so many hurts as well.
I love my friend Joy, but at times like these she can be a royal pain in my ass.
“I suppose my plan is to get cancer and die in the next five years,” I said, totally half serious. “My dad had died not ten years from the age I am today, dead of pancreatic cancer. I could be only so lucky, he went fast.”
One minute healthy the next, painfully skinny and crazy, strapped to the bed as the cancer spread to his liver and the toxins in his blood made him crazy. But in the end, the moment that I will take to my own death, was the memory of him coming out of crazy to a rare moment of lucid, and describing a visit from his dead grandson, my son. He said that my son told him it was okay, not to be afraid and that he was waiting for him on the other side.
That story still brings tears and comfort. The old fuck, he always knew what I needed to hear. Most of me believed him, a part doesn’t. I miss him, miss them both. They died less than a year apart eight years ago.
“Yeah, I’ll hopefully be dead in five years,” I said again, this time looking up and meeting those water blue eyes full of compassion and anger.
“Do you know what that will do to your kids? Your friends?’ Grabbing my hand, she said, “stop that now, that is the most selfish thing I’ve ever heard you say.”
“I can be selfish, I’m not a good person,” I whined
The slap came suddenly and unexpectedly, Joy had never hit me before, the color coming up to her normally pale cheeks, redness spreading down to her neck, “snap out of it!” Looking into those eyes, I instantly regretted disappointing her.
Holding my face, I looked down and said, “you are right, I’m being selfish, I suppose I’ll try to figure this thing out in the next five years, forget I said that.”
“That’s a good boy,” she said, patting my cheek and giving me a kiss. “Tell the boys that aunt Joy said hello and that I love them and hug them for me.” Picking up her purse and slipping some money to the bartender she left on a soft breeze, the sunlight streaming in as she opened the door to the outside.
I finished my drink and headed out to the streets and on to the airport, I had a 5pm flight and I needed to get back home to see my kids.
As I headed out into the afternoon, the sunlight stung my eyes. Weaving ever so slightly, I made my way to the Metro, and the airport.
No plan is a good thing right now. Try not to think, just be there.
©The Autobiography of Mr. Perfect, 2013