We have some family friends in NC. We used to drive up from FL to visit them every years, and I don't remember not knowing them and their kids. I loved their house, their tiny fishing village town, biking at random, swimming off the Duke University Marine Lab's docks. Some of my happiest childhood memories come from there.
My brother's family is very close with them, and they're really second grandparents. I regret not doing that, too. (But the few times we did go there, I got grief from my M-i-L about not going to AL.) Anyway, their names are Bob and Carolyn, and Bob is dying, slowly, of leukemia. He's in his 80s, and has had a hell of a run.
My brother now directs a large department of SIDA, the Swedish version of USAID. So he's in the states for meetings at the UN and in DC. I'm going to take a train to meet him in DC, Metro out to DCA to pick up a rental car, drive to NC, spend a day with Bob and Carolyn, drive back to DC, this time to IAD, and fly home.
The car rides will be the longest I've spent with my brother alone probably since the last time he and I road tripped to NC from Orlando. We were in or just out of college. I was kind of crazy.
These milestones, markers, weird stuff that puts you back in a moment (we've all reached that age, haven't we?), they're both good and bad to me. I didn't really hit my emotional adolescence until I was in my 20s. I grew up very slowly, thanks in part to my home life as a kid. I don't know how much Bob and Carolyn know about it. Bob really idolized my dad in many ways, the intellect that was undeniable, even as his emotional expression was damaging to all around him. Bob makes me remember the good things about my dad, and maybe that's better. But it isn't really a part of my life I like to dwell on.
So I'll be spending hours with my brother in a car, seeing people I regret not seeing more when they were younger and heartier, heart aching for what could have been and what will end soon.
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