was Why Am I Not Surprised? before sleep and a few revisions:
After writing about my dreams, I get a call from my paternal aunt whom I've not talked to since her brother-in-law's death (my uncle). Kat, is that you? I love her voice. It sounds like my grandmother's. We talk up a storm. I've been missing her. Naturally, I ask her how my aunt is doing. She begins to fill me in on everything. I'm not surprised when she begins telling me of the dreams my aunt is having about him. Both my aunts are prone to believing that it's Jesus' way of comforting them. I tend to think it's direct communication and, since we're all connected, it makes sense we're all just talking to ourselves anyway. ANYWAY. It was a wonderful opportunity to share with her my experience with my uncle or with Jesus or Om-ever upon returning home from his funeral.
First, my uncle dubbed me Katastrophe because every time I walked into a room something would fall over, spill or break. It was this weird but true phenomenon. You know how your parents gather around a table playing cards or drinking with old friends and family as they tell all those stories about when "the Kids" were little. Well, that's MY story. I was klutzy, too. You can imagine the heights of my self-esteem. He never called me anything else. For the longest time I DETESTED that name. The whole, Do I have to see uncle Mike, I hate when he calls me that!
As the years pass, though, it became a term of endearment. Particularly, as the years afforded me more grace. Later, when I would see him in fits and spirts, he would make something fall over and wink at me. Ha! But in between teasing me when I was young, he would sit with me and tell me fairytales. My favorite was The Princess and the Pea. He said I reminded him of her. Later, I realized he knew me much better than I thought he did. Yikes...
Some very early memories are of going to see boxing matches with him and my dad. I wasn't even in Kindergarten. I don't remember anything linear just sounds and images. Shiny shorts. Laces. Swimsuits and high heels. The sound of the bell. Sweat. Profanity and cheering. Anyway, he'd been a regional Golden Glove champ for his weight division. I heard he was really good as that was also table talk when the stories of "the Kids" ran low. Anyway...
I went to his funeral. I cried. I hugged people I didn't remember who remembered me "this high" and I ate with a priest...a first for me (who spilled his water, come to think of it...OMG...I just made the connection...too funny). Then I spent time at my aunts, caught up with my cousins and drove home. Home was a little under 5 hours away. The whole way, I thought of him. I was wondering what kind of sign I'd get because I make up everyone that crosses tries to "ring" you up to say: Hey, I made it. You can relax now. It pains me to think they can't get through or, worse, they got hung up on...so...I was on the look out.
I didn't have to look hard. Shortly thereafter, I see in the middle of Main Street a boxing "ring". I'm like WTFreak? So, I park and get out to ask what's going on. I'm told they're having regional matches with particular clubs. Which clubs? My uncle's old club. The one he rep as a Golden Glove! So, of course, to celebrate money is swiftly exchanged for tickets and beer and the fight is on! Now, if giving me a boxing ring wasn't sign enough, his club walked away with the trophy. Ha...yeah, rub it in. You're even a badass in Heaven.
It takes grace to be a prize fighter. It's painful choreography. Looking back, he probably thought I was a lost cause. But he was always in my corner. He fired me up more than once. And he had me on the edge of my seat with story after story of happy endings. Even while shaking his head at another folly of mine, he never stopped smiling while giving it to the chin: Oh, Katastrophe. What am I going to do with you?
I guess that question, at best, will remain rhetorical.
I think I can sleep now. Maybe, I'll dream.*
*I didn't dream. I was completely knocked out!