Brad’s Search : Part 5

This December is turning out much different than I expected. I thought that I would finally have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with a special someone. I know I, as well as Gary and Harry, could see my relationship with Stan falling apart a long time ago, but it all seemed to happen so abruptly. Despite all that, though, I am about to go into very uncharted territory. Needless to say, I’m nervous as hell about my date with Kelly tomorrow night. It will definitely be interesting to see how that plays out.

But being alone for the holidays yet again just makes me feel so lonely. I decide to pull out some old home videos.

* * * * *

There I was, back in my childhood home. It was my birthday party, and I had just turned 5 years old. I was surrounded by a few of the friends I made in kindergarten at the time. My mother was there, as always, but this was one of the few times my father was home. He was enlisted in the Air Force and was always stationed elsewhere during most of my childhood.

Everyone was gathered around the table. Atop the table was the biggest birthday cake ever - isn’t everything bigger when you’re little? And I hadn’t realized this until now, but the candlelight put a really nice glow on my face. That didn’t last long as I blew out the candles and everyone erupted in cheers.

Then came the gifts. A few were pretty obvious - action figures and GI Joes. I guess people were trying to condition me to enter into the armed forces; too bad that didn’t happen. I was much more interested in things that lit up and made noise: flashlights, radios, phones. Could you imagine if I came across a vibrator at that young age?

Then it came time for musical chairs. My mother put on Michael Jackson’s Thriller - leave it to me to have a birthday in October. We played for a few rounds before I made the demand to keep the music playing and then we kids just had fun dancing. I noticed my buddy Freddie dancing by himself; I felt bad for him and asked if he wanted to dance with me. The other parents there gave each other inquisitive looks, but didn’t say anything; instead, another girl (whom I grew to dislike as I got older) said, very righteously, “Boys don’t dance with other boys!”

I still cringe when I remember that. And like so many other times, I used to let people determine how I should live my life; that all changed the day I decided to break up with Stan. I had never paid attention to my own needs and always put others before me, but now it’s different. It sounds almost selfish, but I really need to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone else.

* * * * *

I realize I hadn’t called Mom in quite a few weeks. I pick up the phone and dial her number.

“Brad, it’s so good to hear from you! I was just thinking about you.”

“Wow, what a coincidence. I just watched the old video of my 5th birthday party. I feel so bad for waiting so long to call you.”

“Oh, you hush. You’re a busy boy up there in Seattle, and I can do just fine here by myself. But, I wanted to ask you how the weather is up there.”

“The usual for December; constantly chilly and drizzly. But otherwise, we’re keeping warm. How about yourself?”

“We got a hell of a lot of snow here in Denver. Skiers all over the place. But I wanted to come up there to visit you. It’s been too long since I visited Seattle; I can feel the Emerald City calling my name.”

“That would be great! What time were you thinking of coming?”

“How does next weekend sound? Are you busy?”

“I think next weekend will be OK.”

“Great! That would be so wonderful, Brad. I hear Mount Rainier is so beautiful in the winter. I’ve always wanted to stay at one of those lodges nearby.”

“I can definitely arrange that. I love admiring the outdoors, too, and yes, it is very beautiful in the wintertime. I’m going into work later tonight so I’ll reserve the airline tickets and accommodations and forward everything to your email.”

“Oh, Brad, that makes me so happy. It will be so nice to be surrounded by some family around the holidays.”

“You still think about Dad?”

“Of course, Brad, how could I not? Especially during this time of year. I know it’s been five years since, but he was such a selfless and sacrificing man. I think about him every day; even though he wasn’t around much, he was such a big part of our lives - more than you can imagine. I still miss him.”

I can feel myself tearing up.

“I miss him too, Mom.”

There are a few seconds of silence.

“Oh, before I forget - How are you and Stan doing?”

“We’re not doing. We broke up yesterday.”

“Oh, Brad, I’m so sorry to hear that. What happened?”

I explain to her how his parents pulled their money and how he began coming home late at night, or not at all. “So he just left yesterday, and I knew I wouldn’t see him again.”

“That is disappointing to hear; I’m sure he’s a nice gentleman, and I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet him, but I’m sure you will find someone you are much happier with.”

“Thanks Mom; I know I will.”

“Well if I’m going to be running away next weekend, I better start packing.”

“Mom, your flight won’t be until a week from now.”

“You know me, Brad; I want to make sure I don’t forget anything.”

“Yes; just make sure you actually put the suitcase in the trunk this time.”

“Oh, don’t remind me. Of course I wouldn’t realize I had forgotten the suitcase until I parked at the airport - and in a really nice parking spot, at that! I about had a heart attack rushing back home and then back to the airport.”

“But you still caught the plane!”

“You can thank the short skirt I was wearing that day. That’s the fastest I’ve ever gotten through TSA.”

We both chuckled.

“Alright, Mom, I’ll let you get to your early packing. Watch your email tonight for the tickets and reservations.”

“OK sweetie. It was so great talking with you. Love you.”

“I love you, too.”

* * * * *

As promised, I go online at work to book the accommodations at the lodge and reserve my mother’s airline tickets. I forward all of the information to Mom. Her flight arrives Friday afternoon, and we will leave from the airport and head straight to the lodge. But that is a week away. I have a much bigger time ahead of me tomorrow at my date with Kelly.