“Sometimes, you have to go up really high to understand how small you are.”
— Felix Baumgartner
I enjoy flying. The taking-off part makes my stomach drop as I let go of the control on the ground and rely on someone to take me up and do it safely. After being confined in my home for nearly 18 months then returning slowly to work on campus, the next step would involve taking a plane and going somewhere. This time, it’s flying to Toronto to meet an uncle and cousins for the first time. Dad had three brothers and two sisters, with the boys making their way to Canada to find something better. Turns out Manuel, the brother still alive at 92, went first in 1954, then dad decided to immigrate to Canada in ’57. Why didn’t we meet them before? In a word, family drama, leading to separate lives and dad doing more for mom’s family. The money for my grandfather’s funeral in 1979? Dad loaned the money. Driving my aunt to her ESL classes to get her GED, despite having the equivalent education in Portugal? Dad, again.
Roger (my brother) and I left at the ass-crack of dawn on Thursday. We spent three nights in a hotel, with one day walking around downtown Toronto. On Saturday, we spent all day with the cousins and my uncle looking at pictures, talking, and drinking. We knocked off a bottle of white before working our way through Port wine. Of course, there was food and lots of it. Manuel had traits similar to dad, down to his need for routine and things to get done right away. Having him around made Roger and me aware of our parents’ absence, something we treat as part of our lives now.
At the moment, I am back home and want to sleep for a week. I didn’t sleep well the night I left Winnipeg and slept a little before leaving Toronto. Trying to put an idea together seems taxing to my molasses mind yet…it was worth it.