After that job I sat in my new apartment and waited for the knock at the door and for the owner of that knock to end things, be it legally or otherwise. After a week when that knock didn’t come I lost myself in the only things that were ever really able to take my mind off of anything: books. One in particular stood out as it gave me a new perspective on youth and family, “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” by Michael Chabon. It’s a fictional account about the beginning of the comic book industry and two cousins making their mark. Besides the grand story, what I took from the book was that, at one time, my grandparents weren’t my grandparents. They were twenty year-old run-amoks with sixty years of life ahead of them and hopes and dreams to go with those years. I might have been one of those hopes and dreams in the distant blurry future they envisioned but in no way was I the dream. They had a twinkle in their eyes for that gasp inducing tall dark stranger or that room stopping beauty. Or just that person that made them smile and feel like everything would be alright. What would they think of what their progeny had become? Did they work as hard as they did so that I could spend my life doing this, regardless of the latitude of choice I had in the matter?
There are many measures of adulthood. Age, financial and personal responsibilities, and employment are some. I don’t think there is an empirical threshold that is crossed though, when we can say we are, 100% adults. It is gradual. Like many things in life it comes in stages. One of those stages I realized after reading the Chabon book, is the point in time when you see your ancestors as people and not as the role they played in your life. They had their diapers changed when they were children. They cried when they didn’t get their way. They had the firsts that many of us do – loves, kisses, heartbreak, successes, failures – and if they have passed on to the great wherever and whenever, the had their lasts as well.
In thinking about that I need to add another answer to the, “Why am I writing this?” column. It is, “because I know I’ll never have a chance to share any of my firsts, beyond the ones you already might know, so I might as well, while going through this process, try to share some of my lasts.”
It’s for that reason and because we never officially really “met”, it’s so that you know I was and continued to be a real person. I was someone with hopes and dreams and firsts and lasts and a name and an identity. Travis was real.