Lactose Intolerant

My mother called me in the afternoon, told me people know the approximate time they will die and today I concluded that I am lactose intolerant.

I wonder what it’s like to face mortality, two weeks, seven years away, enjoy a bowl of ice cream without visiting the bathroom.

My nephew’s first memory of my uncle revolved around a pair of red socks. The airline gave him these socks to keep his feet warm on the flight from Peru. When he arrived in America he never took them off, like a badge for impressionable toddlers to hang onto, label “Uncle Red Socks” without knowing his real name.

I should be taking the time to learn the difference between C minor and F minor and minding the best way to tell everyone “I’m in the industry. You understand!”

I understand how to miss salmon pizza, and cheese, and miss opportunities to spend time with my uncle who died in his sleep this week. His heart failed and news of his passing reached me months, years later from Georgia nights in the Atlanta heat when I got to laugh at the antics of Uncle Red Socks and his Jack Nicholson smile.

Someday my mother will know the day she will die, 99 years old, healthy, walking, still dancing in a Facebook story. Dairy turns my stomach to knots, bloats, gurgles and bumps. Dairy reminds me that I won’t escape the call in the afternoon when it’s time to tell my wife and my daughters — your family is dead and you’ll never get them back.