“All stories have an ending, you know.” –Narrator (Winnie the Pooh)
I sat in my cubicle behind my desk, staring at the picture frame in front of me….Brian and I on Graduation day. I’d come a long way since I graduated college ten years ago. 2012 was being pretty good to me, in more ways than one.
“Yeah, I will be home around eight…I gotta work a bit late tonight, then I’m gonna go out for a beer with Brian.”
“All right honey. See you when you get in. The kids will be in bed already.”
I hung up the phone and looked at the picture of my family on my desk, Laura and I had gotten together during college Junior year and were married not long after. We had two sons, Peter, who was five- and Andrew, my hyperactive 3 year old…who we called Andy for short.
If you don’t know what those names are in reference to, you haven’t been paying attention to me very well. I’ve been a storyboard artist for quite some time, and I couldn’t ask for anything better. I finished up my work for the day and packed up my briefcase before leaving, saying hello to some of my co workers.
On my way out, I nearly tripped over a mop bucket in the hall.
“Oh, wow. I’m sorry….”
The man in front of me was short and grumpy, trying to clean up the spilled water.
“Watch where you’re going, buddy. I’m trying to work here!”
I recognized that voice, although I hadn’t heard it in a long time.
He looked up at me and his eyes went wide before he rushed around the corner, me laughing because he was a janitor.
Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it?
“Hey, Sheriff!” I called as I walked into the bar. Brian was sitting there, sipping at a beer and watching the football game on TV.
“Buzz.” he said, smiling at me. I sat down and ordered a beer as well. I had taken to the name he’d given me in college, and whenever we got together it felt like old times.
“Remember when we went to that frat party?” I chuckled.
“The one where you threw up on my shoes? How can I forget that?” he teased, nudging me with his elbow. We ordered some wings and got to talking. Brian and I didn’t see each other a lot these days because of work and my kids….but we tried to hang out every so often. I also kept in touch with AJ even though he lived in San Fransisco now.
“So how are the rugrats?” Brian asked. He was seeing this girl he met while teaching in Orlando. I wondered if he would have kids and get married one day too. Being a father was something I had never expected would happen, but when Laura told me she was pregnant, I took to the role almost right away. I wanted to give my kids what I missed out on when my parents had passed away. The pain wasn’t so bad now, but sometimes it feels like there’s an empty spot.
An empty spot that right now is being filled with chicken wings.
“They’re ok. Peter is getting big, he was chasing the dog around today so I have to pick up some more safety gates. That kid is so accident prone.”
“I wonder who he takes after?” Brian teased.
“Don’t mention it to my wife, she will start agreeing with you.” I laughed.
“I never thought you’d ever get married. We were so awkward in college.” he told me. He was right- and although I’d grown up a lot, I was still the same guy. I dug into the chicken wings when they arrived, I was starving. What can I say, I love food.
“So when are you settling down with April?” I asked.
“I was thinking of proposing soon actually. That’s why I asked you to hang out, I was wondering if you’d be my best man?”
“Do you need to ask? You were mine so I think it’s fair.” I smiled.
“I’m gonna ask when we all take Peter to Disney for his birthday. Pete really takes after you doesn’t he?”
“Like father, like son.” I muttered happily. I was proud of my kids and loved my work, I loved sharing it with my family.
It was like everything had come full circle in my life. It was perfect and as I sipped at my beer, I definitely would do it all again….even living with Brian for four years and putting up with his farm boy tendencies.
“So did you ever frame Laura’s thong from spring break?” Brian said, totally ruining my moment.
Some things REALLY don’t change.