littlewonder2

Little wonder we stumble in life.


4 Comments

A Sombre Drama… My First Funeral

Recently, my nanna died. I’ve been tossing up whether to write about this or not, but I feel like I just had to.

A little backstory: Because of something my dad did years ago, we’ve been cut out of his family’s lives. It was a stupid decision, one felt not to be in nanna’s proper interests, and one that made him — and the rest of us, by association — hated by them. They didn’t even tell him four years ago when one of them died.

So recently, we travelled down from the Sunshine Coast where we live (except for my sister, who lives in Brisbane) to go to nanna’s funeral. Gladly, we weren’t hit by outright abuse; two of the women closest to nanna (known hereafter as V and A) simply treated us civilly. One of them, though, an old friend of nanna’s, slipped dad a hate note just before the service. So now, at least we’re clear on their feelings against us…

For clarity, I’ll be keeping certain members anonymous, by referring to them by the first letter of their names.

This is my story.

We were the first behind the hearse. After everyone had arrived, it was now time to drive to the grave site. Aunt A and K were there, and they’d seemed civil enough, but all I could help thinking was how Anne must feel about us being first. Dad had arranged the funeral too; no doubt she probably thought that was her area.

“Are we going the right way?” asked mum out loud.

“I don’t know,” said dad. “I think the driver must be a little confused… I don’t think we came through this way before…”

Actually, we had. I recognised the rows of Jewish graves that we had passed, now out the left window.

I was just wording my response in my head, sorting out the markers in my head when mum exclaimed, “Oh, yes we did! We passed that Russian building before…”

It was more like a huge gazebo, with pointed dome shapes for window frames. It was blue and white, with a bench inside the middle.

And she was right, of course, we had passed it. But I could’ve told her that we had passed this whole section if I’d told them earlier. Speaking of which, why didn’t I? What was it exactly that I saw before…

We arrived soon, and parked away close by. I took the bouquet we’d bought earlier, half carnations and half yellow roses, and carried it over.

The reverend, who was now there and dressed in his long white garb, looked at me as I arrived. “Will you be placing that with the coffin?”

I looked around at my family and mum filled in the question. She then took the flowers away, and opened up the wrapping. She wanted each of us to take a flower. Dad and I took a carnation; mum and Kristi took a yellow rose.

Mum hastily or messily wrapped the bouquet up again and placed it on a field of green tarp where a number of other bouquets had been placed. It looked haggard compared to the others.

As we stood around, waiting for everyone to arrive and the service to start, nanna’s old friend V slipped a note into dad’s suit pants pocket. “To be read after ther funeral,” she said. It sounded important.

Casting the odd sight aside, I took my position facing the modern line of graves, where the reverend would be addressing an intimate audience of those seven of us and nanna’s nurses at the home where she’d spent the last years of her life.

“Mina lived for 91 years. Now, looking around at all the faces here, I can see all kinds of people who knew her. She was a wonderful sister, mother, wife, grandmother and friend. Everyone here will have different memories of her, but I doubt that everyone here will have known her for all of those 91 years.”

“Hm,” I agreed, nodding.

“I give my deepest condolences to those she left behind, Ken, Tami, Kristi, Ashley and –”

My attention perked up at the mention of my name, and as I finished listening to the names he gave, I noticed he didn’t say A’s. She wouldn’t like that, either I thought.

I looked over at her. She was leaning into K, an open frown on her face, her eyes rimmed with tears. That made sense, at least. She loved nanna, it was the whole reason she hated dad, and what was a funeral without tears and mourning?

The reverend had now started on a list of meaningless events that had happened on the year she was born, 1921. I didn’t think that would help anyone, certainly not A, with her memory. I tried to listen anyway, but these things meant nothing to me. I don’t know so much about the 20s.

Then he handed it over to dad, who took charge as he always does. The first thing he said was bring up one of those events, the only one I really heard, “because Mina really liked that. In reality, she was just like The Little Rascals too…”

And proceeded to tell a story I never knew, that nanna had apparently told all the time, about how she or someone else had lopped off the toe end of someone’s shoes…

As the service went on, and the reverend started to speak again, I remained silent, even through the prayers, playing with the leaves of my flower, looking over at A a few more times, who didn’t change much.

Then finally, “I see that some of you have flowers. Would you like to place them on top of the coffin?”

I had seen it happen, that the tarp with everyone’s bouquets had been laid aside and that the coffin had been placed on two flat bars over the open grave and looped through with rope.

Dad went first then, nervously, me. Everyone else with flowers lined up after and had their turn, and my family grouped up on the other side.

When all the flowers had been placed against the coffins bouquet, the coffin was held with the ropes, the bars removed, the coffin lowered.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

Finally, the tarp, placed over a metal grate, covered the grave. The service was over.

People gathered in groups now, talking. I saw A take her and K’s bouquet off the tarp and offer it to the nurses at nanna’s old home. In turn, others also took their bouquets away. Only ours remained. Mum thought, and I agreed, that nanna should have at least one bouquet for herself. Messy as it was, it was hers now…

A soon cheered up after the service at least when I saw her talking with the others, and eventually she made her way to us. She learned that Kristi had gotten married last year, to great excitement and congratulations on her part. Then she asked me what I was I was up to. Great.

“She’s currently looking for work right now…” mum filled in for me. “And she’s also writing a book.”

“Oh, what’s it about?”

I looked down. In the first place, I was too embarrassed to mention the book. In the second, I always had trouble with that question, even if I knew.

“Vampires,” said mum.

“Oh…” said A, distaste in her voice.

I shrugged. Whatever. It didn’t change the fact that Dawn’s a lot like Anne.

A hugged Dad and Kristi when we left. I was afraid to go in for a hug in case she didn’t want to. “Do you mind if I hug you?” mum asked.

“I do mind, actually,” said A, seeming to hug herself in discomfort.

I nodded. Fair enough.

In the car, though, we found out what V’s letter had been. “I can’t believe that she lumped me in with you,” mum fretted. Soon I learned what she meant. “The letter. She told us both to rot in hell.”

Advertisements


11 Comments

Friday Fictioneers – Inappropriate

image

She so seldom came home. This really was a one-time thing.

Yet, of all the times to give in to her biological urges towards her old friend, this was by far the most inappropriate.

She got up off the bed, gathering her clothes back up, as he stirred behind her. “That was amazing. When do we get to do it again?”

“I told you, this was a one-time thing. This can’t happen again.”

“Why not?” he whined.

“I have a funeral to go to in half an hour. Besides, I told you why.”

“See you next time you’re in town, then.”

She smirked despite herself. There was nothing wrong with a little afternoon delight occasionally…

For Friday Fictioneers


Leave a comment

Character Freewriting – 2# Andrea

Little wonder we’re empty. Numb. I can’t tell what’s real and what’s not. Doesn’t anyone feel? My love, my sister. Is it all just an empty world? Have I been lying to myself all these years, thinking it’s all worth something? That I’m worth something, that he is, that anyone is? Are we all just falling? Or are we all moving towards something?


Leave a comment

Women are good for: Inventions

This morning, I woke up thinking of The Simpsons. Specifically, I was thinking of a scene in Season 17 in which they

The conversation about women's inventions that sparked this post. (Image not exact)

The conversation about women’s inventions that sparked this post.
(Image not exact)

were in the kitchen arguing about what women have ever invented over men, with Homer pushing that women aren’t as good as men because they’ve never invented much whereas men have invented everything good.

Even if you ignore the fact that women have had to deal with large amounts of sexism that would prevent them from inventing anything, there had to be a counter-argument to that question.

I knew for one thing (having heard about it in a documentary) that a woman had invented farming (sure, it created war and disease, but it also freed man to evolve into civilisation), but I didn’t know much more than that.

So I decided to look it up. I found this link listing a top 10 things invented by women. Instead, though, I’ve decided to list my own similar top 10:

10) Medical Syringe

9) Circular Saw

Among the Shakers, a woman noticed the inefficiency of the two-man saw and invented this alternative, which wastes no movement at all.

8) Fire Escape

7) The Compiler and COBOL Computer Language

This was an invention created by an Admiral, which turns human commands into computer code.

6) Coloured Flare System

An invention started by her husband but finished by his wife when he passed away, she never got all the money owed to her from this invention.

5) Submarine Lamp and Telescope

Women gave us the first glimpse of the ocean floor.

4) Dishwasher

Far from being a housewife invention, the woman who invented this was sick of her servants damaging her china, and invented the dishwasher, selling it businesses before catching the eye of women in the workplace.

3) Life Raft

2) Kevlar

A steel-like fabric, it can be used for everything from bullet-proof vests to radial tyres.

1) Farming

Far back in mankind’s past, a woman sowed the seeds of farming, opening mankind up to creating food for themselves.


2 Comments

Trifecta – Reputation in Flight

His friends said he was too beautiful to be a woman; high feminine cheekbones, soft blushing skin, thin curved frame. Women were supposed to be beautiful, that was the whole point.

But his reputation preceded him. Word can fly when petty people whisper.

The man walked through the door, and he was struck by how pale he was. He could see where the reputation had come from, but he was a bit too pale, too platinum blonde. His appearance was stark, not beautiful.

He handed him a slip. He took at it and looked down on what the man had just handed him. ‘Inspection: 7 Sept. 2014’.

“You’re giving me this in person?” he asked the stranger.

“The school asked me to,” he explained. “Caused a stir last week, so I owed them.”

“What did you do?” he asked, curious.

“Indecent exposure. Which wasn’t really my fault, either, but…”

So that was it. The children had spoke about him not out of captivation, but out of scandal. Physical, too…

“What did they do to you?”

“Have you been up to the school? Have you seen the doors in the back?”

“I’m the Superintendent; of course I’ve seen them. Caught you there, huh?”

“I didn’t know they opened. The stalls were all taken. Some school play was going on, and half the grade was there changing too. I thought I could hide in the back room and change, but those doors don’t look. Some kid opened the door. It… was humiliating…”

“Sorry about that. Maybe I can bring it up in my inspection.”

“Thank you,” the man said gratefully.

“Can I get your name?” asked the Superintendent.

“Marley.”

Tale for Trifecta

 


Leave a comment

Character Freewriting – #1 Dawn

Something OnlyFragments has called Emotive Freewriting.

I’ve wanted to try this for a while, and OnlyFragments did encourage me awhile ago to do it.

Recently, I’ve become a little obsessed with reading OnlyFragments. I’ve been reading entries she’d written back in 2009, and a quote occurred to me; “Write with haste.” It occurs to be that OnlyFragments does that, has always done that. And you can tell just reading her, her emotions, fragments of her, come through.

Inspiring as her pieces even in 2009 are, it inspired this piece about Dawn.

Dawn is the character I’m most obsessed with. Dylan is otherwise my favourite character. In the future, I might write from Dawn, Orion, Brenda, Dylan, Seth, Andrea or Melody. But don’t worry, I’ll definitely mention who I write from if I do this again!

Expect more pieces to come, though I’m not sure when. I intend to try this more regularly.

My version is probably more accurate to call Emotive Character Freewriting. I’m not sure if I could do it otherwise; but I almost take every post OnlyFragments does as Emotive Freewriting; its all emotive, and its all spur of the moment.

I’m probably not doing this right. Oh well.

There is haste in powerlessness, and there is acceptance in all that is ugly. When you finally stop thinking, you are not slave to these desires… When you stop thinking, you can’t finally become yourself, who you were meant to be, who you really are. But you cannot stop chasing what you think you need, can you? Can’t stop because, without this fierce pursuit, you realise you can’t deal with all that’s happened to you, all that’s in your heart. This ferocity has become as much a part of you as that other part, hidden behind that layer. You can’t escape you own consumption now, can you, Dawn? It will burn through you like everything else. It will burn your heart out – unless you find a way to stop it.

Can you? Can you, Dawn? Or will you just keep consuming until there’s nothing left, and everything you love is dead?