I was looking through a box of old pictures today. Pictures of my family from the 30's and 40's. My grandparents, young, sweet faced, my grandfather in his Air Force uniform, my grandmother standing proudly holding onto his arm. I touched their faces, traced my fingers over the yellowed newspaper clippings in their scrapbook.
I made a pile of photos. Photos of smiling faces and summer homes that I didn't recognize. "I'll ask Papou," I thought.
My mother came home from work, excited to see I was pouring through the photos. "What are these ones set out for?" she asked as she picked up the stack of unknowns.
"Oh, I was just going to ask..." and then my voice got stuck. Stuck deep down in my chest and I couldn't say it. I had forgotten.
His number is still programmed into my phone, but I know it by heart anyway. I haven't called it in over two years now. Two years. Has it really been that long?
Sometimes it seems so close, I can still smell his cologne, his marlboros, the cold air on his jacket as he came into the house; tall, proud, noble. I can feel the stubble on his face as he bent his 6'7" frame to hug me.
But more than that, I still feel him around me. Thank god for that.