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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Did I Laugh too Hard/ Did I Catch your Hand/ at your Wake.

                                                            A Wake.

"So we most of us went.  And I mean we were laughing, like a lot of the time there, like actually most of the time there, in her bedroom. Was that bad?  I felt bad but she said she was, like I think she was ....she was glad we were there.  She sort of dipped in and out of us in the bedroom, and I mean  sometimes she cried, but she laughed with us too. She had to go talk to the people who came, sometimes, but she always came back. Do you think it was Ok? ...."

The Boss and her circle (horde) of friends spend Saturday evening online in a group chat about a suicide. The death of a father, a young enough man. The tender faced sixteen year old girl whose father he was seemed to wander in and out of the chat.  Beloved she said, brave, he was brave,  suffered from depression, he  suffered.  They make the group decision to go to the Wake and the Funeral for her.
"Do you think think that will help?"
"Yes."
"But.  Darling girl, how?  What happened?"
"Oh. They found him....like I mean he was you know hanging...
"Oh."

She looked at me now, her creamy smooth girl's  face perplexed.
"Nope!" I say "Not bad!. I've done wakes, family wakes, friends' wakes,  other wakes. Yeah,  the old people (over 35) sit around drinking tea, sipping whiskey, but we stand together in my memory of it,  a circle,  laughing  and riffing, and enjoying it. You can enjoy a good wake. It's what they're for...you warm up the Bereaved with your laughing shouty insouciance darling. It's your job?"

Like a bunch of survivors at a boderline precious, hurling defiance into a dark immensity.

"Oh. Right. People, we, were crying like on and off.... when she cried, crying with her like.  I couldn't . Not like that. And I was hoping she wouldn't think  that I didn't....didn't..."

"Anyway, she brought us into the room where he was....where they had him,  and you know he was like the...just seemed like the rest of the things in the room. So I though it wasn't going to be awful. And the......"  The Boss is hesitant, digging for the right words. A little video runs in her mind, her sweet friend.......smiling as she strings her friends like beads, she weaves her girls silently around her father's body,  brushing her fingers softly across his still hand as she passes.

                                                         And a Funeral

Next day they go to the funeral. A cold, unloving, blurry day in February. The mourners walk from  Church to grave in a quietly murmuring herd. There are Funeral Eats after in the pub.

She comes in in the evening.
"All right? "
"Yeah. yeah. Everyone was in the pub. Afterwards. Like the food was really good. And she was with us for most of the day. Yeah. But.... at the graveyard?  I was pushed up on top of the family by the crowd when they were I mean putting the coffin in the ground and I saw her...I saw. Her mouth was open and she was..she was dissolved...in....bawling like she never would  stop, I thought she never would ...."

I think about that. Heartbreak, heart broke. How you might as well yank it clean from her chest and toss it on rocks. In a way. Or on landfill. He suffered.


Whisking the meal I have kept for her from the Microwave oven I order her to eat. Brisk.
"I'm not really actually hungry"
"Sure eat it anyway"
I bring her some water,  tomato sauce, a little green salad.
"Do we have any chocolate?"
"Yes."
and afterwards wiping the crumbs from the table, the plate, that I stack in the dishwasher, sweeping and sweeping the red tiled floor as I listen to her feet on the stairs, hearing her clumsy stumbling exhaustion in the bedroom over my head. Thinking.

I put a match to the lighting strip on the Fire Pak in the living room to warm us, holding it steady until the bag is a roaring conflagration you could not put out if you desperately wanted to  Just another man, you know, loosing his job, left for too long, unmoored by the black dog slipping and sliding (silently) past any human calling. "Don't"

The maddeningly persistent tinkle tinkle of the door bell destroys this reverie. I can see the party canvassers through the small glass window in the front door as  I move into the hall.  The election was called today. I am still holding the heavy metal poker in my right hand. I turn back to the fire. Better so. Another night guys.

On Thursday the Boss reads me messages, posts the bereaved girl put up on her page, in the group chat.  She addresses her father in the first person. Talks to him as though he was present and part of  the chat.
"Love you, I love you, (I'll)  never ever forget you. Never walk me down the isle now...I always saw you....would.  Bravest man I ever knew. You..."
I raise an eyebrow, wordless. Bravest?
"Bravest. Man I ever knew... you suffered.......love you...Daddy"

you suffered.