This morning I drove the farthest I’ve driven by myself to go to a viewing by myself for the first time.
I don’t know how to do these things. Well, the driving, I suppose I remedially know how to do that. But a viewing? I don’t know.
I dressed how I thought I should dress and wore a white shirt, which I never wear, and I smiled wanly and kept my hands clasped. As the line neared the family I wondered, am I supposed to cry? I felt the valve of tears loosen behind my eyes. I had cried at work when I found out, just for a moment. Then it was too late, and I was crying, and what do you say when you’re the one crying about someone you’ve never met before and the family is hugging you? I don’t know. It’s sad for everyone there, but you’re all there together.
I guess that’s the point.
Now I am seated in bro’s college apartment, talking about the best daytime mixed drinks and the hour it is most appropriate to begin drinking them.
I always think of bro as my slightly-younger peer, but his roommates seem impossibly young. Were Erika and Lindsay this young when we moved in together? I don’t know. Maybe because we were all only children we all grew up as tiny adults, so when we moved in together we were adults, only smaller.
Now I am seated at their kitchen table and I am that old guy, with his laptop and his car keys, whisking bro away for a day of family time.
But I know this context. It feels familiar. I could day drink with them all day. Or, at least, I have. I don’t know if I could any more.
The girls are making apple sauce at the counter. We’re headed outside. Guitar shopping. Another context where I never know who I am.
I wish there were more rules, but then I remember I don’t like rules. I’ll just be me. That should work.