I'm freezing. The sun shone brightly this morning so I opted for a skirt and a light jacket, then caught my death hanging around Rotterdam Central Station in the icy winds waiting for my uncle to come pick me up. At my dad's cremation ceremony, I'd promised I'd visit him and my aunt soon; but I've never been much of a family-minded person, and 'soon' is rather an elastic concept in my book. Still, they hadn't forgotten and that's how I came to be so flipping cold. None of us had stopped to realise Rotterdam would pretty much come to a standstill because of the annual marathon being run today.
This particular uncle (let's call him Piet, 'cause that's his name) is my dad's youngest brother --Dad was the eldest of three, but the middle brother cut off all ties with his birth family when he got married and moved to Germany, for reasons no one knows or understands-- and is a lot like him, physically as well as in temperament, though I've always thought him to be kinder, somehow. I wouldn't say Dad was intentionally unkind often, but he certainly was never a patient man; and he could, and sometimes did, yell and throw his weight around. By contrast, I don't think I've heard my uncle raise his voice even once. When he was in the home, uncle Piet was my father's lifeline; rain or shine, he always came to visit him at least once every fortnight, which I know meant the world to my father. He didn't have that many visitors apart from me and my mum, as most all his chums had predeceased him.
So I spent the afternoon in idle chitchat with really the sweetest people in the world, who fed me pie and soup, and when they drove me back to the station took the initiative to exchange mobile phone numbers. My uncle, ever the gentleman, opened the car door for me and hugging me tight, thanked me from the bottom of his heart for having come to see them. There were tears in his eyes as he said it, and I wish I could have said we'll do this again some time...but it would only have been a lie. A little white one, but still...Like I said, I'm not that big on family, and it'll probably be months, if not years, before I'll think to call again.