Friday, November 09, 2007

there should be a quota

But if there were, two doesn't seem like that many. But we could count Oakley's mom. That's three.

I remember in the literature I used to teach there were women who were paid to sit in funeral homes and grieve loudly. I think it was in The Stranger, when his mother died, and he was numb and didn't show great loss and sadness but instead had sex with a woman and went out with friends and shot an Arab on the beach and was at trial. They held it against him, a character defect, that he was cold because he didn't wail at his mother's death.

But we are numb and busy and have to take care of the work before we go tomorrow morning. I go to Mo's and smile while I carry the food out to people and drink three lemon drops and forget for a while and smile and sell calendars and chat with lonely strangers whom I love with my co-workers whom I love and my husband whom I love most of all and differently.

I've decided it's easiest to explain this relationship to the "funeral we have to go to" as a father-in-law--of a set of three. Like Justin's unofficial foster parents. I know his mom Toni was really there, but Sandi and Wayne and Jason and Brian were so THERE... right across the street. Whether or not the titles are legal, Wayne was the most present father figure in Justin's life if you only calculate the physical distance and years. Wayne has known Justin since Justin was 3-years-old. Wayne had the most dirt to tell me, the oldest stories with details. But Sandi, Sandi is the real story teller I will have to mine over the next few years. Olaina--the unofficial daughter-in-law of this woman who took that boy in and let me in too.

We're getting so much practice, I could join those women if that job is still available. The wailing women. But I'd have to live as a four-year-old and a faucet that turns off and on and in another country and probably another time.

I am not four-years-old.

I do not turn my emotions on and off very well--mostly they're always on, flowing out from a well without a bottom. No drought, just floods. Totally visible on my face.

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