Communicator, cooker, drinker, poet. Grew up in a mining town, wore a hard hat.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

and then we were three

standing at the roadside hysterical, too much space between us. it was a child mind you, and not mine either. a small child, fingers like sticks of sugar-free gum, a wrinkled nose, a bald head. the year was 1986 and my mother never recovered. he would've been my younger brother. i remember taking trips to the cemetary, seeing her weep and wail, wearing a proper black dress with tan stockings and plain, low-heeled pumps. there were always photographs, dutifully taken by my father. i think they both secretly wished the plaque would age, like the boy buried beneath it should've. trips to thomas-evan were followed up with a lunch of bagels and cream cheese. he was born, and died, in hull.

we stayed in a hotel after the death of my maternal grandmother. i think it was a holiday inn. my mother took me to the fairweather store in the big thunder day shopping mall and bought me a navy blue dress and matching blazer, explained to me that it was inappropriate for a child to be dressed entirely in black. she paid with a credit card. the day of the funeral, i remember blow-drying my hair, being excited for my new clothes and anxious about the ceremony. i had never been to a funeral. i made a comment to my mother, inappropriate as it was, about the order of events. she glared at me with a face twisted with anger and began to cry. she spilled a cup of coffee and collapsed in the corner chair. she screamed at me from that chair about things i can't recall, raged and raged and i thought it would never end. i spent my grandmother's funeral and subsequent enterrement brooding about that morning. i wanted to tear off my navy blue dress and run yelling from the church. i swore i would never forgive her. i have never forgiven myself.

and now you, friend. i have you in my mind's eye, ivory skin tear-stained, heart fit to burst, faced with a church full of mourners. and rather than be by your side i am in some stupid meeting in some boardroom far away, having sent flowers and condolences. i am so sorry you have to live this, friend. so sorry. the world is unnecessarily cruel.