This morning, I wake up and see that my old roommate from when I was a college freshman has added me on Facebook. I had not seen him since the day he fled our apartment, the bread knife he used to stab a man who had been bullying him was on the kitchen table — bent and bloodied. I have to go my friend, he said, his fratboys will kill me if I stay. You will hear from me soon. That was more than fifteen years ago.
In the afternoon, we are walking around the cemetery. We go there every now and then to visit my wife’s Pa. It’s been four years since he passed. He was the kindest man in the world.
I watch Summer, my three year old daughter, run around. She asks if she can step into one of the big mausoleums. Can I go here, Pa? I say yes, just don’t step on the grassy parts. She steps on the grass anyway. I say not on the grass, love. She looks at me and smiles.
The grass, the trees, they might outlive us all. They’ll watch but not tell of our lives. In sixty, seventy years, when I am gone, do you think you’ll be proud of me, Sum? I ask myself. Look Pa, butterflies, she says. They are yellow butterflies, two of them, and the sun is shining.
On the way home I get a call from another old friend. Two and a half hours later we are in Starbucks and the barista asks what size drink I want while putting stickers onto a booklet. Tall.
Will you build me a tree? my friend asks. A tree? How high? Forty-eight feet, I find out. When do you need it? Next week, bro. He laughs. Forty eight feet in two weeks is a tall order.