It’s been quite an exhausting weekend. I’m flying back on Tuesday and I can’t wait to get home. I’m hoping I can recap the major events without being too boring and going on for too many pages. (I’m writing this in a Word document instead of writing my three-to-five-page (double-spaced) short story which is due on Wednesday.)
I know it’s kind of a stupid thing to say, but the major thing I’ve realized this weekend was that my childhood is officially over. I know I’m almost twenty-three and this is obvious, but I guess I fully accepted it. My grandmother’s house was packed: it was the first time in probably at least three years that all five of the grandchildren were together. It was really the first time in a decade that we all hung around my grandparents’ house, since my mom took over the entertaining duties for Thanksgiving and Christmas a long time ago. Even though I lived at home for a couple of years during college and always visited my grandparents at least once a week during that time, it was really the first time that I really noticed everything in the house since I was a kid. Suddenly I started to notice again the figurines in the curio cabinet in the kitchen, or how there was still a Matchbox Rolls Royce in the china cabinet because I thought it was worth too much to play with like the rest of my Hot Wheels.
The whole process – both the funeral home visitation on Friday night and the funeral service on Saturday – was a town event. I saw so many people I hadn’t seen in years, including my old best friend Mitchell’s parents (his mother said to me, “You’re so grown-up and good looking. I wish my son was as mature as you”), my third-grade guidance counselor (who also taught my father Chemistry three years in a row). There were also countless people from town who came by, including our delegate to the Virginia Assembly (he lives a mile down the road), who talked to everyone, including me, as if we were just his constituents (sorry, I didn’t vote for you) and not the people he’d lived in close proximity to for almost fifty years. I remember noticing that he had very well-groomed politician hair. Then at the church on Sunday I saw my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Walker, who told me that she still thinks about me because I was always her favorite. (LIES.) There was also Miss Harvey, the middle-school gym teacher who still has hair down to her butt, and her mother who used to play the organ for us at Sunday school. And since the obituary mentioned that I was “from Chicago,” I had to answer the same question about EIGHT THOUSAND TIMES:
“Do you really like Chicago?”
One woman, who lived down the street from my grandmother and had daughters who were close in age to me came up and said that she was impressed that I moved so far away. She and her husband built a house down next door to her in-laws’ house. She said to me, “I didn’t think anyone made it out of Westmoreland County. James [her husband] tried so hard and he didn’t even make it off of Wakefield Street.”
Even the rich bitch who lives in the huge house down the street, who I think only acknowledges that the rest of us on the street exist when someone dies, told me that she and her husband went to Chicago a few times. “You should really go see the Pheasant Run resort in Geneva. We’ve gone to some decoy auctions out there and it’s just beautiful.” Thanks. I’ll be sure to check that out, Middy.
Anyway. Long story short: everything is weird. It’s feeling more and more that I’m losing a place here in this town. There’s nothing for me, and no matter how many people tell me that I’ll be back to settle, I know I’m not going to be living here ever again. It’s kind of sad that the place where all my roots are buried is dying, too. Well, there is a new coffee shop that opened up in the old Exxon building. Maybe I’m wrong; maybe Montross is on the make, but I doubt it.
I think I’ll just end this here, since I’m trying to not be sad and I really don’t want to grieve all publicly and shit. I will admit that it’s been a much harder weekend than I expected, and no matter how hard I tried to keep my composure, I felt that I just couldn’t and I hated myself for it. When I think of my grandmother, I think that maybe she would have wanted me to not be sad and to look at the bright side of things and all that jazz, but I think she would have also appreciated a few emotional collapses.