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Uncle Pete

Depending on the company you keep, a discussion may be more like a monologue.

Uncle Pete. Look at you. Here, in my home. The man, the myth, the legend. I can’t tell you how good it is to see you again.

It’s been too long, and I know that’s my fault. In fact, I should start by apologizing.

I’ve been feeling awful about us losing touch over the years. You were always there for me, unlike everyone else. Always you kept your cool, no matter how much I complained or carried on. I never said thank you for your generosity, for the many times you bestowed upon me those glorious pearls of wisdom. I took you for granted. For that I’m sorry.

And you know what? Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I’m being selfish bringing you here like this. That’s what Claire would say. She’d say I was being a “self-centered crazy person with no impulse control.” I guess that’s why we don’t talk much anymore. One of many reasons, honestly. She has her problems too.

Well, if I’m selfish for bringing you here, then so be it. Guilty as charged.

It’s dark in here isn’t it? Let me open the blinds, Uncle. Look at that view. You can see much of the city from up here.

Remember all those years ago, Uncle Pete, how you’d sit in the study and stare out the window watching the world go by, me pulling at your pant leg? Remember that? You’d take a break just to talk with a dumb kid like me. That was the best. I miss that. I miss how you didn’t make me feel like a dumb kid.

Maybe I’m being sentimental. Can you blame me? When’s the last time we talked? On second thought, don’t tell me. It’ll just make me feel worse.

I can tell by the look on your face that you already know I’ve got troubles. You were always so insightful. But whatever you’re thinking, it’s worse than that.

Honestly, things have gotten so bad lately that it’s hard to even talk about it. You probably guessed already, right? About Claire, and how I lost my job, and how this is just the beginning of my losing so much more.

Can I pick your brain, Uncle, get inside that magnificent head of yours? I need your guidance, more than ever. And despite what Claire might say, I’m not making excuses for my “poor impulse control.” I admit my problems. I’m not that dumb little kid anymore.

What’s that line you used to quote? From Kipling, I think. Something like, “If you keep your head when everyone’s losing theirs, you’ll be a man.” I’m a man, Uncle. Well, according to Claire, I’m a crazy man. But still.

God. I just realized I’ve been rambling the whole time, making this all about me. Sorry, Uncle. Let me shut up so I can get your thoughts. That’s why I brought you here after all.

Damn. What timing. That’s my phone. Give me a second.

Hello? Yes, this is him. What? Yes, that’s right, I’m his next of kin. He was my mother’s brother. What? My God. You mean gone gone, like missing? Are the police… what? Ok, they’re there now. No, none of my relatives are alive. I’m it. Yes, I can come down now. Morningstar Cemetery. On Dulles. Yes, I’ll be right there. Ok, yes… yes, bye.

Well, Uncle Pete, we have to cut our conversation short.

Wish I could’ve gotten the rest of you up here. I tried, you know I did, but I just could not fit your body in my gym bag. My bad. I should’ve used that Samsonite you gave me when I left for college. Remember it? I still have that thing.

Anyway. Sit tight. I have to talk with some people. About you actually. But I’ll be back.

Wait, before I leave… check this out.

It’s a lazy susan Claire bought a while back. Never used it. We were always eating out. Let me put you up here, Uncle. That’s good. Ha! I’m always putting you on a pedestal, aren’t I? Well, anyway, I can swing you back around to look out the window and keep watch. See? Just like old times. Look at you. Keeping your head about you. Like a man does.

Let me get Claire out of the freezer. She can keep you company until I get back.

See, she’s wrong about me. I’m not selfish.

Inspired by the prompt: The one with the severed head…

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Graphic Artist, Musician, Manipulator of Sentences.

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Lane Zumoff

Lane Zumoff

Graphic Artist, Musician, Manipulator of Sentences.

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