Just Like Old Times

A Short Story

By- Thomas Kubrak

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Everything was just as I remembered it- old & outdated. Not a thing had changed in the town. Except for a fried chicken place. The Old-Marine who ran the floral shop still was still there though, along with the old gas station.

After getting off the train I stood there scanning the town and taking in the fresh country air. Something I hadn’t breathed for a very long time.

I looked to my right and heard a little boys playful crys as he kicked the rocks next to the railroad tracks as his father held his hand. From the chaos found everyday in the city, this was something I didn’t see very often. His father saw me looking and smiled at me.

It was Thanksgiving week and I planned to spend it at my favorite Japanese restaurant downtown. I was actually looking forward to getting some succulent Duck. That was until my cousin called me.

.

“We’re selling the house finally.” She began laughing, her energy unchanged. “Come over for one final Thanksgiving dinner Cuzzo. Just like the old times. What do you say?”

I hesitated. It had been many years since I had seen the family.

“Okay.” I finally said. “I’ll be there.”

That was a few weeks ago and in the days leading up to it thoughts of my Uncle and his home passed through me like they had just happened yesterday.

We had so many good memories in that house. Even though, my Uncle wasn’t the ‘favorite Uncle’ persay-I loved his crazy outword nature. He was harsh and unforgiving in his punishments as children, and even when we got older his treatment of us was much the same.

My other cousins and syblings stayed away from him when we got older but I felt an odd connection with him and continued to call and visit. Something I couldn’t quite explain.

In the months leading up to his death I was one of the few to spend a lot of time with him. At the time I was only 22, a fresh college- graduate, ready for Graduate school. I was broke too so he also paid me a little to fix up his house.

We had many conversations together as I helped him with fixing up his old home. The one that sticks in my mind the most was when, on one of those days, we left the house work, on a mission to smoke some maduro cigars.

We found a nice little bench and lit up our cigars. It was a beautiful day in July but he sat there shivering a little bit.

“Daniel,” My Uncle began out of the silence, “Daniel, You must make a choice- and you must make it quickly.” He stopped as his vicious cough returned.”

“You alright Uncle George?”

“Fine-fine.” He continued, clearing his throat and taking another puff from his large cigar. “A man must go on his own at some point. To find what he’s truly capable of. You must…” The coughing only grew until it became so viscious he couldn’t speak any longer. We went home shortly after that.

When I put him to bed that night, I remembered rattling his unfinished words through my mind as I sipped on some wine from his collection. I went to sleep that night trying to think nothing of it. Just another speech from Uncle George, I told myself.

***

I shook my head and found that the boy and his father were gone- No where in sight. I stepped off of the platform, took another deep breathe of the fresh country air, and then looked at my watch. I still had an hour to spare.

Thank God, because I needed to pick up some cigars and wine for the party.

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By- Thomas Kubrak