My mom has called in her chips. I'm off to Florida on Sunday to see of what use I can be to her during and after a particularly invasive surgery -- she'll be 79 the day after, and I'll be one year old in my current configuration -- a shared birthday, as it were.
We've been playing phone tag about it. When I caught up with her, I was walking across campus with my cell phone stuck to the side of my head, like all the students -- the difference being that I was distracted by all the camellias, daffodils, and ornamental cherries -- they're either too young or too old for that right now, a lot of them.
"You got your ticket yet?"
"Yes'm." (We're Southerners.)
"You get a car, too, and a room. There's a motel down the road from the hospital."
"Mm-hmm, saw it on the computer. It's a Holiday Inn®. So, I shouldn't come to the house?"
"Well, you know how he can be -- not to see, nor be seen with."
"Who all will be at the hospital?"
"Well, the preacher and his wife, and Auntie, and Mr. and Mrs. Bungalow."
"And you, honey."
"But not him."
"Not him. He won't be there if you're there."
"Want me to stay home?"
"Lord, no, child. I think I'm going to need you this time."
"He doesn't want those maps printed out, or any help with driving?"
"No -- he won't be there if you're there, and I'm sorry, I just couldn't do any more." She started to cry.
"My dear, it's nothing to do with you, and I'm fine. He's the only person in the whole world that has a problem with me, and right now that's between him and him."
It'll be interesting.
I think, off and on, what if I were to just show up at the end of the driveway and wait? I mean, what can he do, come out and shoot me?
As if that were the worst thing that could happen.
The worst thing that could have happened to me would have been if I were too afraid to transition.
I've passed that test with flying colors.
It's all good now, and even an abrupt ending would not change this story from having its happy ending.
Except, of course, the mess that would put everyone else through.
So, I'll have to play this one by ear. Not for me, I'm covered, but for Beloved, and Mom, and Daughter, and My Three Sons, the granddaughters, Auntie, my friends, my mom's friends, and my co-workers. All of whom are with me.
And for the old man, too, who's temporarily forgotten who loves him.