May be the last time, I don’t know.

I slept in this morning, till a late late 8:10, then bounded out of bed, fed everyone, and commenced working at 8:30. I’m “at lunch” now, and by “at lunch” I mean I’m talking to you rather than copy editing something.

Yesterday was my 23-year anniversary of being a copy editor. Twenty-three years ago yesterday, I showed up for work at a textbook publishing company outside of Los Angeles. I got the job because Marvin, who had signed up to be my husband and eventually erased his name from the board, saw an ad in the paper for a proofreader at a textbook publishing agency. Remember when we looked at ads in the paper, then printed our resume and cover letter and mailed them and waited for a call? Good gravy.

“You should be a proofreader,” said Marvin, who later said, “You should write a blog.”

Had Marvin stuck around, perhaps he could have thought of a new thing for me to do. Instead I’m over here in suspended animation, being a copy editor for 23 years and a blogger for 14 because Marvin’s not here with the next suggestion.

I can’t recall which job I got that named me a lofty “copy editor” instead of a “proofreader,” but the difference is a copy editor can change words around. A proofreader just looks for spelling and grammar and punctuation, and please stop assuming anything wrong with the language counts as “grammar.”

“I hate to be the grammar police, but that needs a question mark.”

That isn’t grammar, you damp ham.

Anyway, that’s how I became a copy editor, and now I’m a SENIOR copy editor, which means I get Meals on Wheels. And free Pond’s Cold Cream for life. So, a jar of Pond’s Cold Cream.

Get it? That was a senior joke. There’s my next career: Senior jokes, by June.

So other than celebrating my anniversary with a nice batch of things to edit, life has pretty much gone on the same as the day before, and the day before that, dating all the way back to February 17 of this year, which was the last normal day I had before my surgery.

Oh. It’s possible I didn’t mention I had surgery in February. I enjoy keeping things under wraps.

That last day, February 17, I had a good day at work. Things were going well on some writing I was doing—sometimes at work they let me write and not copy edit. I was feeling better physically than I had, which was probably oh hang on neighbors are yelling…

OK, false alarm. The people across the street sometimes just speak loudly and other times they’re legit mad at each other and either way I Gladys Kravitz my way over there or hover on my Ring doorbell to get a load of what’s going on. This was just “I’m yelling from the porch cause it’s raining,” not actual anger words.

Anyway, on February 17, I left work thinking I’d be back in two weeks. I felt so bereft when I left, and I was all, What’s yer problem? You aren’t leaving forever. And here I am, 8 months later, still not back. It’s like somehow I knew.

Have you ever had one of those? Like, somehow you knew but there was no way you could have known? Usually I DON’T know, and I think back on things and think, That was the last time I ever saw that person but I didn’t know it and I was way casual about it.

Not to be obsessed with Marvin, who signed up to be my husband and then erased his name from the board, did I mention? When we separated, he lived fairly near, so every once in awhile he’d come to my house with food and we’d have lunch together. I always go home for lunch. I mean, now of course I STAY home for lunch, but back when I left the house I always came home for lunch, allegedly to let the dog out, a dog who holds it like a camel, and whom you have to force outside and practically milk to get him to pee.

Anyway, one day, and I have no idea the date or the year, but Ima guess 2014, early, Marvin came over for lunch and he of course got my order wrong because that’s what he did. Once when we were married I sent him to Boston Market for turkey and dressing and

I’M LYIN I’M DYIN

he came back with a plate of turkey and a container of French dressing.

Anyway. Whatever day that was, we had our lunch, I’m sure I groused about my wrong order, he left and I never saw Marvin again. Now he lives in Atlanta and is married and a few years back I was IN Atlanta and said, “Hey, we should meet up” and he said no so I will never ask again and odds are I will never see Marvin for as long as I live. And that last time I was just, See ya except I didn’t.

I just had no idea. So that time, I didn’t know.

The day I left work to go have surgery, I somehow knew. I was wistful and couldn’t place why. “It’s only two weeks, you damp ham” I told myself, and damp hams are very big with me today.

The weekend before my surgery, Ned and I went shopping. We got…I can’t remember what we got. But something surgical-preppy, I’d assume. Loose pants or something. But what I remember is we got coffee, and sat in his car outside of Old Navy, drinking our coffee and watching the crowds, and I got one of those weird flashes of happy. You ever get those?

I had no idea why I felt happy. But it was the last time I was in a crowd or a store, so maybe I sort of knew that, as well. I knew it’d be a long time before I was out in a crowd, shopping, with my ex.

I gotta go. I spent the first 30 minutes of my “lunch hour” talking to you, and I want to spend the next 30 showering and dressing. Not French dressing in a container, though.

Wistfully,
June

49 Comments

  1. My heart broke a little bit when you said you would never see Marvin again. The comments made me tear up a little too. I’ve had a lot of lasts in my life.

    Like

  2. I am so grateful for your writing June! You always make me laugh and realize that crazy things happen. I love how you make the ordinary so amazing. I am not sure what “happy” really looks like. It all died so long ago for me but I do work every day at finding a bit of joy and your blog tops it off always! Love you.

    Like

  3. I’ve had 2 close friends die from Covid. So the last time I saw them I definitely didn’t know it was the last time.
    I live in AZ and my family is in MI. In 2008 I had plane tickets to go see them in June, but in April I just felt like I needed to go NOW. I hemmed and hawed about taking time off work and paying to change my tickets. But as soon as I arranged it, I felt so much peace. My dad became very ill 2 days after I arrived in April and passed while I was there. It happened so fast. He only had several bad days and I stayed with him day and night. I am so glad that I changed my ticket and I was there to be with him in his last days and when he passed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The last time I saw an old high school friend, she was in my office. She’d come to meet a coworker of mine who was a total slime. She gave me her number and said we should get together. I thought she was just trying to further a business connection and I was busy with work and a new baby. I never called her. A year or so later, I got word that she committed suicide. I thought she had everything – she’d always been beautiful, came from a great family, and had countless friends. She had an amazing laugh and she was the life of the party. It was such a shock. I don’t think a phone call or lunch date with an old friend like me would have changed whatever pain she was in, but to this day, I feel like a jerk for being too caught up in my own busyness to take the time to get in touch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is ok. You are just human – don’t beat yourself up. Just remember it next time something similar happens. I am sure you had no influence on what she did but it is always nice to take that little moment…. I don’t know… You did what most of us do…. no worries.

      Like

  5. Well, I could hardly tell Uncle Bill about the turkey and French Dressing because I was laughing so hard, and then the next sentence you threw me for a hard landing. I never heard that story and it makes me sad. I love you. Aunt Kathy

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel like my life is filled with last times. We move. A lot. I just said to my husband how crazy it is that we are sitting here in our new normal. New house. New life. Completely new life. New jobs and schedule. I am sad thinking about it because while my life is amazing, I cannot remember the last time we sat as a family and watched a movie and ate dinner in our house. We are selling it and I am ecstatic to be out from under that burden but man, it kills. Posts like this remind me to sit back and really take in the moments. Thank you. Or shall I say, you’re so pretty, June.

    Like

  7. I knew with both of my grandmothers that the last time I saw them was The Last Time. I just knew. Those were really tough goodbyes. I have not experienced that with anyone else who has passed away.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Truly lovely post today, pretty June.

    It hit me the other day of how much things have changed in such a short time. Standing in line is now no longer just something you do but an act of dodging to make sure you’re far enough from the person you’re behind but also the person behind you is paying attention/not breathing on your neck. On my last trip to Costco, they had Clorox wipes! This was very exciting as we hadn’t seen them since the pack I bought before the world went crazy last December. The woman behind me in line was at least 80 and no taller than the cart she was pushing so I asked if she wanted one and she nodded vigorously. The employee SNAPPED that there was a limit of 1 per membership when I picked up two packs (one to put in her cart). I know people being greedy is what caused them to react like this. I miss when simple things were easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well, that just makes me kinda sad, you believing you’ll never see Marvin again. My ex died in his sleep a few days ago. I keep thinking about how he probably went to bed that night thinking he’d get up and do whatever in the morning. Instead, his wife called me sobbing to tell me that he’d died. You just never know.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Really enjoyed this post. I think about lasts a lot but rarely realize them as they happen. Must be the hopeful part of the human psyche.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Damp ham is going into my rotation. I giggled and giggled.
    We just found out the earliest we can go back to the office is June 1 2021. Ugh. Hate working from home.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. On March 3rd, I said good-bye to my coworkers and left for what was to be 2 weeks – 1 week business trip in the office in my hometown, and 1 week vacation in said hometown. We ended up coming back early (Covid ruined that trip) and all Admin and IT were then under orders to work from home. I was finishing a multimillion dollar project moving a data center to a new location. Next thing I knew, I accepted an early retirement w/severance package (after the projrct was completed). I never saw anyone I worked with in person again. I told my husband when we got the stay at home order, “I’m never going back.” I totally knew. Now adjusting to retirement and trying not to kill the husband. ->Insert wink emoji here.<-

    CommandoBarbie

    Like

  13. Not exactly the same, but I do sometimes get this weird feeling when I’m planning for some upcoming event and I can’t imagine myself actually DOING it, and then it doesn’t happen. Like a trip that gets cancelled or a plan somehow falls through. I’ve had that happen quite a few times. The most recent was the trip to Hawaii I had planned for this past June… yup. Just couldn’t quite imagine it.

    One time – I remember it was late November – I asked my dad to bring a rake with him when he and my mom came to help with some things at our new house. When they left, I tried to hand it back to him and he said “you keep it. I won’t need it anymore.” I said “well maybe not this year, but the leaves will fall again next year!” and he said “nah. It’s fine”. So I kept it. He died the following summer, before another leaf hit the ground. I still have that rake. I often wonder if he knew…

    Turkey and French dressing. The classic combination MARVIN.

    Lovely post June.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, the travel-that-didn’t-happen thing happened to me, too! We were supposed to go to Ireland last summer. We had plane tickets, but I was dragging my feet about hotel reservations and other details. I normally really like travel planning but for some reason couldn’t get it together. And then, boom. Cancelled.

      Like

    2. Oh so sorry about your dad! But he did know didn’t he. Thanks for sharing this beautiful tidbit – may he rest in peace whit the most beautiful leaves around him.

      Like

        1. Awww… thank you @banne4. But if there are leaves on the ground in heaven, my dad is raking and burning. The man never stopped working.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Marvin.
    False alarm…
    I don’t think any of us had a clue way back in the early part of the year what was just ahead of us. Does it seem like March was an eternity ago to anyone else?
    Tee

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I had a friend who I loved very, very much. We fell out of touch for several years and then one day, he called and I just started bawling because I had missed him so much. From that point on, we talked on the phone every week. A few months later, he came to California on business. I went to visit him and we spent a wonderful day together. When it was time for me to head back home, I just started crying ugly tears and I didn’t want to let go of him. He asked why I was crying and I said that I knew I would never see him again. He told me I was being silly, that of course we’d see each other again but I just couldn’t stop crying and I cried the 2 hour drive home. He was killed a few months later. I never saw him alive again.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Probably not the reaction you are looking for but my thought after reading this was “it would be awesome if the last time I saw my ex was the last time I ever saw her.” So much energy goes into deflecting crazy.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I personally have never had that sort of thing but my brother-in-law spent about a month before he horrifically died in a terrible accident going around making amends with people he’d distanced from or outright banned from his life. It was like he knew.

    Also, my first husband was from another country. The last night I saw him, I met him at his apartment complex to pick up my daughter. They were a little late so when they pulled into the parking lot, I went over to the car to get her. She was 6 years old and just one of those really good, mild mannered, little kids. He and I chatted for a minute then I opened the door to have her come out of the back seat. She scooted away from me and started screaming, “if you take me out of the car he’s going to leave and never come back.” This went on for several minutes, her screaming and crying and refusing to get out. So I say to him, “Are you leaving the country?” and he replies, “No, I would never just up and leave her, I would let you know.” It literally took both of us to pry her out of that car. The following weekend when he was supposed to pick her up, he never showed. I drove over to his apartment and his roommate said, he disappeared about 4-5 days ago and hasn’t been back. Around a month later, a car repo company called me and wanted to know if I knew where he was so I told them they should check long-term parking at JFK in New York or Logan Airport in Boston. The found the car and mailed me the license plate.

    Long story short: he left and she didn’t see him again unti she was 21 years old, after graduating from college. She knew.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. He left the USA and went back to his country: Zambia. About 3 years later he remarried and ended up having 2 step-children and also he and his wife had 2 children – so my daughter’s half siblings – which we didn’t find out about until my daughter was a high school freshman. And we only found out because he told my mother in a letter and my mother can’t keep a secret. Anyway, my daughter met them all after she graduated from college. After she was there he emailed me to say she was on her way back to the USA and thanked me for raising such a wonderful human. He expressed regret at how he left and then missing all the years with her. She kept in touch and managed to go visit them every 3 years or so. He passed away last December as my daughter and her husband was on the way to see him. I actually am sorry she didn’t get to have a final moment with him because she was cheated out of so much. BUT my current husband has been in her life since she was 10 and he counts her his own and they have a fantastic relationship.

        Like

  18. The 1st time I remember being blissfully happy was in 1985, I was sitting on the porch watching my Husband wash our new Honda Accord. My older daughter was riding her bike and my youngest was napping. It was a beautiful June day, warm and sunny. This past June on another beautiful warm day I watched my Husband fishing off of our boat. 36 years later and I still like to watch him and even in the midst of 2020 Pandemic, I was blissfully happy.
    For that I am thankful and grateful.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. The one big Last Time I remember was my grandfather, who died suddenly in January of my sophomore year of college. When I said bye to him to go back to school after Christmas break, he cried, which was unlike him. I think he Knew. 😦 I miss him every day, still. I was his favorite and he was mine.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. The last time I saw my ex alive I didn’t know it was the last time. It’s a good memory with a good hug, maybe even a little flash of happy. I don’t think I remember a lot of those moments overall.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I have a lot of lasts (it’s the last soooong, I’ll ever write for you….) . Some I regret and miss, some I don’t, at all. When I last saw my son and DIL on Jan 1, I thought I was going to see them bc of business trips I had planned for March, April, and May (they live in CA now; I am in VA). I miss them, in my soul. I didn’t see that “last,” coming, and was not at all prepared. Typing this makes me weep.

    So – yeah.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. The last time I saw my ex-husband, we were in the hospital waiting room. Our son’s baby was working on being born – well, to be fair, her mom was really doing the most of the work.
    My ex had left when that son was three, and he’d only recently come back into the kids’ lives. It was hard. All of it was hard. The leaving, the being gone, and the coming back.
    But standing there in the waiting room, chatting, I had one of those flashes of happiness you mentioned. “OH,” I thought. “It’s you! I remember you! I like you.”
    It’s not that I still loved him or wanted him back, God no. I just recognized the man I once knew, and for the first time in years, I was happy that he existed.
    He died a month and a half later. I didn’t know it was the last time. I wish I’d told him – maybe – but I’m grateful that I had that moment the last time I saw him alive.

    Liked by 6 people

Comments are closed.