None Of It Matters
death. life. existence. purpose.
I ran with scissors and stumped my toe on the base of the couch. Those pesky things always sneak up on you out of nowhere.
I shouted my boyfriend’s name the loudest I could that it became a shriek. Five passers turned and gawked.
I cursed continuously for ten minutes before my mother finally said that it was enough. “You’re making the angels cry,” she added.
I threw a fit as my brother let the Ziplock filled with my favourite snack spill to the floor.
I coloured my hair silver and then as unpredictably chopped it off. My nail polish went from blue to black.
I embarrassed my brother during his wedding speech by shouting something inappropriate and immediately felt horrible.
But none of it mattered as they tossed the soil on top of Jeffrey’s casket. The green post-it in his drawer only read, ‘Smile at least once a day no matter what.’ I cleared his desk and shined his boots that last time. Maybe I’ll keep them on my front porch to fend off the strangers or until someone steals them from their post. “I love you,” I whispered to Jeffrey’s ghost. The midday is always the warmest they say. Today it’s cold and sad. The snow seems to know no end. The flurries covered Jeffrey’s car like a blanket. Winter slowly pauses the night, elongating the darkness and bitterness. “Why did he have to die this season?” I whine. “Summer is such a beautiful season to go.” I’m being ridiculous of course. There is never a good time to die, but he specifically chose winter. He didn’t find a point in it or at least he felt that it was always the end of something good and nice. He couldn’t see that spring will come with rebirth and reset. He couldn’t see that far ahead. He only saw the days of winter. “The darkness, it looms,” he would repeat. “It looms.”
The tears wash the pavement. I tend to look up at the bare branches. His mother’s sobbing is quite audible as she tries to control her grief. There is no point in doing so. I say let the grief rip through her and squeeze her hand, whispering, “We will all miss him.” The words don’t matter because Jeffrey is still gone. His act to end it still rests heavily and will remain so for days to come, weeks, months, and years.
“He could have said something,” Genevieve cautiously argues as a few of us gather at the reception hall. The customary gather to console the mourners, chatter about the deceased, and maybe get a nibble or two. My attention again is elsewhere, standing across from the painting of Mother Mary holding her baby Jesus. A candle lit on a shelf beneath.
“I loved his smile. His bright smile,” someone says in the distance as I only hear fragments of a conversation. Or at least pay attention to the fragments like a tempo of life sparking light here and there. Otherwise, it’s plain darkness, void, and the same. That’s the shade that tore Jeffrey into feeling unnecessary as if he only occupied space that could have been utilized better. So, he stopped being. He stopped existing, disintegrating into nothingness.
What he didn’t understand is that he wasn’t nothing. He was something to so many people. He was someone to me. The smile that lit the room. The voice that rained wisdom. But none of it matters because he’s not here. Because I’m angry that I have to say goodbye to my brother.
Time hangs on me now as I set the battle with the image of Mother Mary and her stare. The moments have stretched, shrunk, and disburse like mist. Beyond it all, Jeffrey and his many questions. He stretches his arm as if saying come along. An invitation. “Did you get your answers?” I whisper and I finally let out a shout.
The day’s been brewing and unfolding, and I run out of the building to the busy sidewalk and finally breathe in. The cold air hits my throat and I like it. I like the freedom that suddenly overwhelms me. The permission to be untroubled because in death none of it matters.
So might as well, scream, yell, curse, and run.
© Jacob Greb — 2022
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