“Why isn’t he deleted?”
Amanda watched the Facebook page on her phone light up and her face dropped into a frown.
The face looking up at her from the birthday page was an older man’s face with grey hair. The funny little smirk on his face complimented his rosy cheeks and white beard, making him look a bit like Santa clause.
She read the words below his name: 65 Today.
Amanda sighed, yes, she thought, he would have been. She passed her fingers through her brown wavy hair and felt her stomach tighten into a knot.
She missed him.
She put the phone down and memories flooded her mind. As soon as the memory in her head disappeared another would take its place. There was the time he had taken the family to the petting zoo and rattle snake farm with the giant pigs, creepy emu and skinny donkey that followed them around. Then that time he brought cricket suckers and wanted everyone to try them. Or what about the time he’d bought them didgeridoos for Christmas. Before she knew it she was smiling. What a crazy guy, she laughed to herself.
But the best times were the times they had spent cooking. She had probably spent more hours with him in her grandfather’s kitchen than any where else. Amanda closed her eyes. It was like stepping into the past for a moment. In her minds eye, everything was as it had been when she was still young. The oven that was built into the wall. The small counter space. The yellowed tiles on the floor. The huge wooden table just outside the kitchen. The sliding glass doors that led to the back patio and the grill waiting to be used. And most of all, her uncle standing in the kitchen explaining to her what new recipe they would attempt that day and what her mission would be to help it happen.
Amanda sighed again, but this time it was the deep sigh of someone who both feels joy and pain at the same time. Joy for the blessing those moments with her uncle had been, and pain because the world had lost such a unique person.
He had been an inspiration to her in so many ways. He had taught her how to take risks; taught her that life was diverse, and it was most beautiful when people could accept that diversity and both learn to respect others and learn to be themselves at the same time.
She had once fumbled through her words to tell him this. She closed her eyes tightly and tried to keep this memory away, but found that it had embedded itself deep within.
He lay there on his bed, waiting, barely able to move around. He waited for her to speak. The unspoken words hung in the air like a darkness that refused to dissapate: this would be the last conversation they would ever have. Her words just hadn’t been right. She still didn’t know how she could have explained all that he had done for her. How do you tell a man who is dying how much his life had meant to you? How? How?
Perhaps she would never know until she herself lay somewhere dying. That gave her a sudden horrifying thought: who would be struggling to form their last words to her as she lay there breathing her last breaths of life?
I will strive, she thought, I will strive, God, to impact someone else’s life the way his life had impacted mine.
She picked her phone off the table and smirked back her uncles photo. “Happy birthday you crazy old man” she said aloud. “See you next year.”
“Why isn’t he deleted?”