Just not this year
I didn’t think it would happen this year. Not that I thought I wouldn’t think about it, I just hoped it would come and go before I realized it.
But then the lights went up, and the ghosts came down.
And there I was- standing in the middle of the store, trapped between boxes of stuffing and cans of cranberry sauce that towered over displays of pumpkin pie- sinking to my knees, watching them die…one by one by one.
But we weren’t going to do this again, remember? That was the deal. I just had to make it through one more Thanksgiving and one more Christmas, and then next year would be happy. This year would be happy.
But it was too late. The countdown had begun, your ghosts were released, and all of us were going to hell.
Back to the accident, November 20, 2016.
But this year, it’s more than just the memory of it all. It’s now morphed into this fucked up source of shame. I mean, honestly, it’s been three years (or is it four?) And they’re dead, and you’re not. And it’s time to move on.
And then it turns to guilt. Because what kind of person could just dismiss it and move on? And then the rage comes because I keep ending up in this horrible place. And I refuse to live stuck in the past, but here I am. And I don’t want to write about it anymore.
But every night, they find their way in, under the covers and into my head, taking every thought prisoner, and stealing my sleep. And this is the only way they’ll relent – with an offering of peace.
And the hope, maybe next year, they’ll let me bury the dead.
It’s always the same scene that haunts me. But, it’s not of the accident. It’s a memory I’ve never had, in a place I’ve never seen.
I have no idea what his house looked like or how big his family was, or if he even celebrated Thanksgiving. But that’s where I go, to his living room- his family seated around a long table, lined with white porcelain plates with matching bowls and platters, all strategically placed around an elegant flower arrangement, candles on either side.
A younger version of him, maybe his little brother, strains to grab the bowl of stuffing his mom is passing to him, both reaching across the empty space between them, the one she always sets, where he no longer sits.
Dalí came to mind,
As I studied you from the side.
The way your head tilted back,
Pouring down your spine.
On my knees, shivering
Staring at my phone,
Pulling up blades of grass,
One by one by one.
The silence mocked me-
Staring at my phone-
It wasn’t going to ring,
No one was going to come.
Could you taste it, the smell:
Charred rubber and gas?
Could you feel it, the injustice…
I was holding my breath, while you were taking your last.
The same place she always sits, that’s always set,- scene isn’t any less tragic. have been all the trees piling up ont or feeling in my sto