I tend to get too busy to do some of the things I should and really want to do in this life. Some days my life feels like I’m riding the old playground equipment that has a rut dug around the radius metal spinning apparatus from the decades of kids running around the edge of it, pushing as fast as they could before jumping aboard for the ride, then hanging onto the handles for dear life.
Seems the only time I put my foot or feet down is like an excitable kid working hard to make it go faster and faster… and it’s never quite fast enough.
I stood just outside the health food store trying to wrap up a business call before entering. I knew no time would be wasted, the girl working inside had seen me by design. She knows I waste little precious time, I knew she would be making my sugar-free-no-fat-low-carb-protein-shake.
“Where’ve you been?” I asked smiling, just having hung up my cell as she placed my shake on the counter and I tendered payment.
“I’ve been here?” she answered innocently.
“I know, I’m just kidding, I wasn’t here yesterday,” I chuckled.
She smiled and handed me my receipt and I quickly turned to exit. “Have a good da-” I started to say in a hurry for the door.
“OH!” The twenty-year-old girl completely out of character interrupted me, “My aunt and uncle told me to tell you that Timmy London is dead…”
I stopped dead still, my body instinctively squinted as if blinded by the sun as my brow shriveled into sharp rows. “What?” I asked, hearing but not fully grasping the reality.
“Timmy London is dead… his funeral was on Wednesday,” she said with horror on her face. I set my drink down and slid into the counter stool. “I asked them why they didn’t tell me before Wednesday so I could have told you before the funeral,” she said apologetically.
“Yeah… I wish I’d known…,” I mumbled.
“I’m sorry!” she offered.
“No-no, it’s not your fault,” I reasoned, trying to sort out the flood of emotions. I pulled my wallet back out and shuffled through the small stack of keepsakes and important cards I keep, “I went to high school with him… we played football,” I spoke softly with no sense of time or why I was in such a hurry to begin with.
“Yeah, I know. My aunt and uncle told me,” the girl I’ve known since she was knee high told me.
I found Tim’s business card recalling running into him six months back when we’d planned to get together for lunch or something to catch up… I remembered the two-a-day preseason football practices in the Arizona August inferno… I remembered the GQ kid built like a brick house that no one who didn’t know him would ever have guessed the beast of a nose tackle was kind and gentle off the football field.
I also remembered the last vise-like handshake and the big bear hug he gave me. He was the same… just older… I immediately lamented my lack of follow-up… I keep few things in my wallet that don’t have importance to me. I have pictures of my family, the required items and the things to remind me of my commitments and priorities… like spending time with a friend I’ve known most of my life… who I would never have imagined could take his own life…
Intention has little value when opportunity no longer exists… and it’s too late for an apology…