My mom and Scott's dad thought they were the funniest people on the planet when they got together. We rolled our eyes about it, but to tell you the truth they were pretty funny, and it was fun to watch them enjoy each other so much. And to tell you the truth, they weren't entirely unlike Scott and me, standing in the middle of Barnes and Noble or the grocery store or wherever cracking wise. Neither of us has entirely turned into either of our parents, but as we got older, we got a little more comfortable with the ways in which we maybe had, just a little. A tiny bit. Maybe.
When we were in high school, Scott's dad never believed that we weren't dating. His son hung out with the same girl every weekend night, regardless of who else was around? And we weren't dating? Sure, pull the other one, kids. And then we did date in college for awhile, so that just cemented it: he was never going to believe that we hadn't been, in high school. I got back from my Gran's one weekend when we were high school seniors, and I called over to Scott's house to see if he wanted to go to Perkins or something that night. A familiar voice I thought was Scott's answered, so I chirped, "Hi, honey, I'm ho-ome!" And Marc chirped back, "Hi, honey! Scott's at the store!" Through giggles, I managed to leave a message, though it was redundant at that point, and when Scott got back from the store and called me 15 minutes later, he said, "Are you still laughing?" I was. "My dad is, too."
I have never had so much trouble with denial before. My brain keeps jumping through extravagant hoops trying to come up with ways that markgritter got the message wrong, ways that the obit I just linked was a terrible coincidence: there was a Marc James who died in Omaha? How eerie, I know a Marc James in Omaha! Who isn't dead, of course, because he can't be. Because that would mean that I would never hear that laugh again in my whole life, and it would mean that Scott wouldn't have his dad any more, and that absolutely can't be true, so clearly Mark and the newspaper and the whole entire world must have written it down wrong. I keep staring at the screen trying to make the letters change, trying to make it un-happen, and it just won't, and I know that this is not a tenth, not a thousandth of what Scott and his family are feeling right now. And I'm not there to make them lasagna and bars and give them hugs and try to keep my mouth shut when there's nothing good to say, because there isn't, none of it ever is enough, but I do wish I could at least try.