The stars answer like signal lights of ships upon the outstretched sea and your hands yearn more than these; more than wings grown fast close to home or traveling sheets, bundled overhead in uncrowned rain; they and you are so graceful I forget the dawn. I look at these apart, undeterred by distance or greatest pain and the deep of you goes down to fathoms unknown before to me.
The worst thing about Mother’s death, caused by face cancer that rotted her cheek right off, was the amount of money I paid the hospital to watch her die, mainly because I wasn’t even there to see it happen. But this isn’t about the money or Mother’s death; it’s these things that revolve around it.
At the reception, a teenage boy was struck by a car. The driver was an old man who had, having seen Mother’s yellow casket, realized he should hurry to the buffet because it might be his last supper. The boy didn’t die right away. He was alive and screaming for the old man to move the car until the car’s weight cracked his ribs and smashed his lungs, but the old man could not hear, and the procession of geriatric mourners all had their hearing aids off, so the boy was slowly, agonizingly, suffocated by the right rear tire—a Goodyear.
Once the old man parked, he stepped out of the car and hobbled toward the entrance. He saw the boy’s remains and said, My God who could have done such a thing to a young boy. The blond hair and blood-stained teeth, bright red like strawberry syrup, likely made the old man’s stomach churn with hunger and sickness over the death of the boy, and he remembered he too would soon be buried.
So he sidewindered into the reception, held at the Banana Springs clubhouse because Mother enjoyed drinking banana daiquiris there, and called the hospital. He then ate a banana split and headed to the toilet where he died. No one knows for certain how he died. All that is known is a man in a black suit said he heard choking sounds, and the pulpy remnants of a banana were found on the old dead man’s shiny black shoes.
I never saw the dead man or the dead boy, and I never saw my dead mother on the day of her funeral. She was in a closed casket because there was not enough make-up in the country to cover the crater on the side of her face. I wondered if the mortician attempted to place large items in the hole, a stapler, a wallet, but not his genitals. Not because they wouldn’t be large. Though, I’m not convinced a man with large genitals would choose to be a mortician. Perhaps men with large genitals are drawn to occupations where one is required to work with the dead and mourning, exempli gratia, pornography. Forgive me if you consider that living. I don’t watch the stuff, though I am aware of it.
But that matters less than the death of the Pastor, and not one of the aforementioned deaths, including Mother’s, make a clear difference to the whole story on its own.