the gathering…

the gathering…

age, like time, is funny in some way, not laugh out loud, or ironic, just how, like water over a rock, or wind spilling over a rocky outcrop, how time erodes and molds your perception throughout, age, a birthday, a long way from those days, of silly burger king crowns, roller skate parties at roller usa, or perhaps bowling, I missed out on the bouncy house phenomena, that was saved for only carnivals and festivals back in my dawning days, but things are all relative, when you are a kid there is such a feeling of the infinite, but somehow, time and age – they whittle this down, to real numbers, not that I am counting, not that I can count, but the perception, the grasp now of dwindling moments is there seemingly in my very hands, so, yes, another birthday (not today, you can hold your well wishes, thanks), but back in August (Leo proud), another birthday, things have been so sparse in these covid gripped years, the fear has splintered everyone down to basic units or less, a night out to dinner once so mundane now seems like a special occasion, or even just oddly strange, and even now as things slowly slide back into the normal, so I picked a place, an old haunt, from my college days, down in New Brunswick, I played to my audience, knowing there would be something on the menu for everyone, that everyone not being a large crowd, not at all, but why put out anyone through a compromise, even if this a day ‘for me’, something I rather do not like on the whole anymore actually, but there is here, this gathering, just myself, my slightly older brother and my aged mother, the first dinner out together I think in some time, without my father, who by circumstance was devoured by the covid plague, one day he slipped and fell, hit his head, at 84 you take no chances, went to the hospital, got covid there, in less than a week – dead, that was almost two years ago now, but somehow this still had the feel of strange, all that is left is us three, covid seems to have distilled the rest of the family down to just this, no gatherings or holidays, all missed by mandates, and fears, and precautions, and maybe some were or are happier this way to be truthful, rid of the bonds they had to endure just by birthright or marriage, how quickly the unit seemed to fall all apart, that many less times together, perception, the counting, as one generation marches into the dirt and my own path looms closer, there is only so many times this casual dinner may occur, perhaps the only function of a birthday with which I concur, for at least I get this, a simple indulgence at best but stamped indelibly with an invisible number as we never know what fate may bring, but we know fate will arrive at our door, hoping for more is not a bad thing I surmise, but also keep your eyes open and recording the happening of now, like a film so you may return to it again, mind, the lives in your immediate orbit, and take a deep dive into these moments, especially at gatherings such as these- as mom orders some key lime pie, my brother eyes a classic slice of ny cheesecake, and I settle in with a nice cappuccino with a rock candy stick to swirl clinking the glass as the sugar dissolves, the meal seemed to take forever and a moment, and now it is gone, one more down, I hope for more to come but I will always at least settle in happiness with at least the next one.

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