“A couple of months later we were at a cook-out at the Logan’s and the same thing happened with the exception that we paired off and went to bedrooms. That’s when they joined us.”
“Are you okay? I mean you were so quiet and laid-back last night while the DVD was playing and you were blindsided by Ken, well by all of us really.
“Hey, why would I be all right? After all, I’ve got the smallest dick in the group!” Click.
Jason who sat there and listened to my conversations said, “Man you’re really messing with their heads. I’ve known you a while and you never show your anger. How do you do that, you know, control yourself like that? I never could. They’d all bleeding in a hospital or morgue by now if it were me.”
I drew a breath and gathered myself before I tried to answer his question. “Jason, you are one of very few people that know something about my past. Some things, but not everything. You knew when I was twelve years old my parents were killed in a plane crash.”
“You had mentioned that in boot camp. They were going to your uncle’s funeral in California somewhere close to Los Angeles.”
“Uncle Bob lived in Lancaster. What you don’t know is that it was United Flight 175 that they were traveling on.”
“I don’t get the significance of the flight number Tommy.”
“United Flight 175 crashed into the south tower at 9:03 a.m. September 11, 2001.”
Jason began crying and I joined him. After a few minutes, I wiped my eyes clear and told him that I had been staying with neighbors who had a boy my age. “I ended up moving to Georgia and lived with my mother’s brother, my uncle, Pete and his wife, Karen. I had an incredibly angry childhood after that and ended up in counseling. I acted out in school and was mad at the world, and everyone in it. The counseling continued for six years and that is where I learned to control my emotions. Rest assured; I have strong emotions and because of this a lot of anger. I just do not let anyone see that side of me.”
Jason looked at me, “Man, I am so sorry. I never knew.”
“Hey! Life sucks and you soldier on as they say. The families of those involved got an exceptionally large payout from the airlines. When my uncle found that out, he acted as my guardian, and I received a settlement that exceeded 2 million dollars. Uncle Pete put that into a trust with certain stipulations, one of which was that I either attended college and graduated or that I joined the military. I couldn’t access it until either of those conditions were met and even then, I couldn’t draw on any money until after my twenty-fifth birthday. Unless I’m truly foolish, say buy a mansion, an expensive sports car and throw lavish parties, I’m set for life. It just sets in the bank earning interest. Other than my Uncle Pete and Aunt Karen, you are the only one that knows about it.”