Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Never Special," Ghoulish, pt. 2, 424 words

Shame burns my cheeks even as the cold winds whip against my face. I should have gone anyways. Told her I loved her, hugged her again, just one more time.

The flight takes me about two hours. I'm not much faster than a car, but I don't have to obey the twists and turns of roads and towns. I'm over New Hampshire before too long, and a good ways up the state before I finally spot Mom's hometown. I shove my goggles up and squint, but I can't make out Gram's house from here. I know exactly where to find it, though. I descend as discreetly as possible, about a quarter mile away from the house, and walk the rest of the way. The goggles go into my bag. No need to show off my powers, not here and not now. The next week, at least, is about Gram and Gramp.

Mom answers the door, surprised that I'm here already. She's been crying, hard. She asks how I got there so fast. I shake my head and evade the question.

A man from the funeral home has taken Gram's body away already. The nursing aid hadn't even arrived yet that morning when Gram died, and they turned her away when she finally did. Mom was sitting right there when it happened.

I can't even imagine what it must be like, what must go through a person's head, sitting there right as their mother dies. Knowing it's coming, but that's about as comforting as seeing the truck you know is going to hit you, right before it does. I drop my bag and hold on to her as tightly as I dare.

The next two days are... I wish I could say they're about Gram and Gramp. My grandfather spends most of his time in a corner, trying desperately to ignore everything and everyone, reading the same page of a book over and over again. Everyone postures and argues around him, but in that quiet, indirect, polite way that families find to argue during hard times, when everyone feels they have to at least put on the appearance of standing together.

Only my mother and uncle are blunt and direct – my uncle because he always has been, and my mother because she's too frayed at the edges to care about the bullshit anymore. We've always been a fairly close-knit clan, by proximity and through Gram, but that just means that we can read each other like open books. What's written there is pretty ugly.

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