Bent Words

Bent Words

October 02, 2020

NOT 67.

62 makes me think of you.

His father said good bye to two sons.

I didn’t ask his family directly but those he loved told me that he was in a huge amount of pain. Becky took one look at him two weeks ago and started crying.

“I don’t even know how to say it. He looks better now in his casket,” she whispered.

All flat and frowning.

FUCK open caskets.

She let a tear fall and then she laughed out loud with a laugh that’s almost as loud and contagious as mine and said, “I saw your comment on the poster, though, Laura, and Chuck would have LOVED it! I mean, he does love it.”

It makes me happy that it brought about a few smiles. It’s the link to him that we all need to feel so that we’re not so alone in grief. We drank his beer and took his shots, cursing him for the second time within one week for having to do so. We raised our glasses or held our bottles high and gave him our silent reverence. We pushed in our chairs to arrange the bar, just as he would have done, and then we went our separate ways.

I get it that he didn’t want to complain or raise a fuss but it would have been nice to see him again. I don’t know if he knew how bad it all was before he went to the hospital but I do know that it wasn’t worth it to him to keep going. It would have been maybe a month or two and it would have been complete agony. To know that he passed so quickly is reassuring as I couldn’t imagine the pain.

Now the bar is going to bit a little bit darker. The world in Waukesha a little bit quieter. The world in general a little bit sadder.

I remember the day I first met Chuck, in the middle of a dead afternoon, before he decided to move to Wisconsin while visiting and contemplating a new position of employment.

“So why’d you pick the Ash?” I asked him.

“Because I’m a smoker and because there’s such pretty girls here,” he said.

Written at 4:49 p.m.