I’m home. Home from home, that is.
Exhausted. Travel-icky. Sad.
I walked into my dark house, pulled off my black knit dress, black boots still encrusted with graveside mud, black knee-highs, black underthings, black mood.
Not a bad kind of black, mind you, the kind that makes you all too aware of all the things left undone. The ties that are fraying, the clans that are scattering. My mother, now the eldest of the family, is the matriarch with the passing of my great-aunt. We tapped sppons on glasses and announced that we will start having regular reunions on the Fourth of July, just as we always did when my great-uncle and great-aunt were alive. It was never complete without my own grandma and grandpa—the two brothers out-cigaring and out-storying each other, and the cousins all piling into the ancient hammock or swimming in the freezing, unheated swimming pool.
Some of those cousins are my age, and some are newly fledged, newly graduated, newly married, about to become parents. I used to hold these cousins in my lap, or down on the floor and down and torture-tickle them. At the wake, I had trouble recognizing them until they smiled, and then I could see the little boy or little girl I remembered.
Being my usual shy and retiring self, I circulated pen and paper to record everyone’s contact info at the after-burial lunch. I will set up a site and a communications base for the family. Mom can take care of the PR, another friend has offered to organize goodies, and a cousin has been beaten into allowing his place be the venue. He’s the only one with room to erect tents on his property.
Okay. I feel better now. I have something to do. Something to look forward to accomplishing. The family will not scatter, not if we can help it. I want someone holding down my kids for torture tickles too and reminding them later how little they used to be.