i remember what it was like to see him sitting at the kitchen table in the mornings, waiting for everyone else in the house to get up and get going. when he was here, i would always wake up because the smell of coffee brewing would get to me and i'd know he was up and ready to do whatever he wanted with his day. if i was lucky, i'd have him to myself for a whole hour and i would sit and eat cereal while he drank from his never ending cup. he used to leave puddles from his cup that would pool and that i would drag my fingers through gleefully to make patterns that made us both smile.
i remember when he would call when he was home and the two of us would talk about pro wrestling. about who would win and who would lose and we would argue over me liking ultimate warrior and how he thought he would do nothing. he would call during bears/packers games and talk smack about the bears and how the packers were guaranteed to win and when they'd lose, he'd chalk it up to a fluke. he'd call me a good girl and i'd reply with the word poison.
i remember the time we went out to kennedy space center and my uncle wanted him to be in a wheelchair. so distinctly, i heard "not a fucking chance. i'm not fucking crippled. i can walk." and walk, he did. i think he did it to prove to my uncle that he didn't need wheels to lug himself around, even when he had to slouch over or lumber.
i remember tugging on the jowl of loose neck skin and him sticking his tongue out to make me laugh.
i remember the picture of him with a smurf.
i remember the flannel shirts he used to wear and how soft they were underneath my fingers.
i remember being the first person of my family to learn that he died.
i remember telling my dad to tell him the night before he died that i'd talk to him later, that i was busy studying for finals.
i say i don't regret anything in my life but this is the one thing i regret fully. i regret not talking to him before he died. i regret blowing it off for something so trivial as a test. what i would give to hear his voice one more time, calling me a good girl. telling me he loves me.
i miss you, grandpa