Today was dull and gray, though it wasn't that way earlier in the day. Earlier on it was sunny and bright, with a nice gentle breeze that had just enough character to it for it to be appreciable. I took out my old down vest, just so the chill of the wind would be comfortable. My dad gave it to me when I was a kid. I think it was meant for his son, whenever that was supposed to happen. On my eighth birthday I think he figured out he should stop waiting on a son and probably put that energy into his daughter lol.
It is a faded olive color with a plaid interior, and the cloth on the interior has pills from being washed and rewashed over the years. For a long time it used to smell like cigarettes, which my mum explained was due to it being my dad's smoking vest back in college. Eventually the smell of the cigarettes faded, but to this day I find that smell comforting, even if I never smoke.
I make a point to try to not wash it unless I have to, and generally do it by hand. I replaced the down in it once, which left it feeling lumpy for a while. Over time it settled, but for a while I thought I had ruined it.
I put on a surgical mask today and took a walk at a local forest preserve. There really wasn't anyone on the trails, and the ground was damp from some rain the night before. I have always liked the way the ground feels after the rain. When I was younger I would take off my shoes and socks and go barefoot, but once when I was a teen I ended up stepping on an old nail. I had to get a tetanus shot, and that essentially ended the practice outside of my own yard and visits to the beach.
There are supposed to be storms the next few days, and I am looking forward to sitting out on the porch with dad. I think he needs it since he has been sullen the last week. He normally gets that way after mum's birthday, but normally it only lasts few days. A little time together and he should be right as rain, and likely craving something greasy.
My dad is a living metaphor lol.
Thursday saw me working with Eric again, though I wasn't happy about it. He has been weird lately, or at least more nosy than usual. He was asking about the vest and wondering why I was an only child. Even after I explained it to him, he ended up asking me later in my shift if I was positive I didn't have any siblings. I told him I was sure, and he seemed shaken for the rest of the night.
I told him that mom started getting sick soon after I was born, and that the doctor said having another child was a bad idea. Mom and Dad tried to go the adoption route, but they were never able to meet the requirements. I tried to convince them that I didn't mind being an only child, but I think dad and mum wanted a child more for them than for me.
They eventually settled on a dog instead, and that was that.
Thirteen years was a good age for a dog, and when he passed I think my parents had gotten the kid bug mostly out of their system. It didn't keep them from falling in love with every boy I brought home, but that didn't bother me as much as you would think. Most kids I knew growing up were constantly fighting with their parents about dating, whether it was the act of dating or who they were dating. My parents, by and large, always let me get away with stuff like that.
“Go for the throat,” my dad would tell me whenever I would go out. It was his way of being protective. My mom would say a bit more than that, but only when my dad wasn't in the room.
I never really gave much thought about growing up without any siblings since I have always enjoyed my alone time. I am sure I would have enjoyed it, even if it would have likely lessened the attention from dad. I think about mom passing and how much more complicated it would have been if there had been another kid for him to worry about.
Dad and I have one another, and I think is enough, at least for me.
It is not that I have always been on my own though. I've always had small number of friends, like Betty and Danny.
When I was younger, I had a good friend named Tracy who was just as shy as I was. If I hadn't noticed she was reading the same series as me I doubt we would have started talking at all. We would hang out on the edges of the playground, our backs against the fence and our faces buried in some book or another.
The teachers tried to get us to play with the other kids, but they never really seemed interested in having us around, and would often ditch us once the teacher was out of sight. Eventually they stopped trying, and I imagine they came to the same conclusion that we did, namely that having one friend was better than having none at all.
We hung out all the time, and by the time I was a teenager there was a running joke in my house where my mom or dad would call out “daughter” and we would ask which one they were asking about. They would respond with “The better one.”
During high school we ended up drifting apart a little. We just seemed to start developing different interests in different people, and though we would be friendly and my parents would constantly ask about her, by the time I left for college her and I had mostly stopped talking altogether. We kept up a little bit, mostly through emails that would ask how the other was doing, qualify the exchange under the heading of “It has been too long,” ending with a promise to keep in touch more regularly.
We both kinda suck at keeping up, and it has actually been six months since I heard from her. With my schooling coming to an end and my application and job at the historical society, I guess I have just kinda forgotten about her, as sad as that sounds. I'll make sure to write her soon.
She is the old sweater of friends, but the good kind.
The other day I ran into that same damn cat from a few weeks ago. It followed me for a little bit while I was heading to get my meds. It soon lost interest though, running off to attack a squirrel that had just come down a tree. It is a big cat for a tabby, and though I didn't wait around I am pretty sure if it came down to it the squirrel would be fucked. I ended up passing that way again on my way home from the pharmacy, but by then it had moved on. There was blood and fur on the ground, like it had been torn to pieces.
There was a shortage on my medicine, but I had enough to spare to make sure that I okay, I am kinda pissed they cut it as close as they did.
The storm is starting up soon. I'm going to wrap this up and see if my dad has come home yet. I have to grab our rainwater glasses from the dishwasher and get them in the freezer. Out of everything, there is nothing dad hates more than a warm rainwater cocktail.