The 5 C’s, Continued (Only Me)

Curious. Curious things happen to me.

I had briefly entertained the notion that it might be wise to ask the next-to-me car dude for a jump. By then, it’d already been a little over an hour. I considered it probably wouldn’t be that much longer. Besides, the slowly lowering slouchy-ness just didn’t seem that approachable.

Shortly, the tow truck rolled in. I opened my door to wave and saw him see me. Making a loop around the parking lot, the driver pulled up directly behind me. Absolutely, blocking the other guy in.

Just as the driver jumped out, the door on the car next door swung open. The pretty blues and purples caught my eye as I watched the owner exit, shoulders a little high.

“Oh, no,” I thought. “He’s gonna make a scene because now he can’t get out.”

I jumped out of my dead ride and called over the roof, all cheerful-like intending to diffuse whatever. “Hi,” I waved. “I’m the one who needs help…”

“I know,” the operator called back. “I couldn’t believe it! What are the chances that two people parked next to each other would both need a jump and both call AAA?”

Holographic car guy turned around to look at me.  Astonished, I told him that I had almost asked him for a jump. He said, he’d almost asked me for one, too.

Pulling all of the necessary cables and gear behind him, he stopped at my car first. A few fumbles later I pulled the correct lever hard enough to unlatch my hood. A quick hook-up and a crank and… a flock of moshing, honking-seagulls made themselves known.

“Hmm.” There’s nothing as quietly unnerving as a mechanically inclined person looking down into your car guts muttering, “Hmm…” (I take that back. It’s much worse when a doctor does that to you.)

A little tinkering movement later I heard, “Try it, again.”

Optimistically, I did. The cymbal smashing squirrels made a half-hearted effort, their odd exuberance was dying.

He stepped away, shaking his head and toting his gathered equipment over to the azure-royal morphing carriage parked adjacently. I called my phone-a-friend-back. “You’re never gonna believe this,” I stated, filling her in on the so-far status of my latest adventure.

I got a little creative in my thinking, at that point. Was there some kind of magnetic suck coming from the holistic health for pets place? Were we near a malfunctioning transformer?

Obviously not, since pretty-car started to purr right away. Yeah, on the first try.

Quote for the Week:

Uncommon

 

I was taken aback by the bizarre.

Did I want Jeff’s thumbprint on a gold charm? That felt sort of creepy.

Considering the size of his hands, it’d have been a heavy weight, whether it ended up on a necklace or bracelet, tucked into a jewelry box, or just something I just had to hold onto. Nor did I want a vial of ashes to wear around my neck.

When offered a photo-wrapped honor candle, my dull reply was, “I don’t really need anything.”

Roger protested. He earnestly wanted me to have something; a memorial to hold on to. Because it was so important to him, I agreed that a candle would be nice.

There’s a beautiful, golden-orange horizon sunset behind Jeff’s photo, reminding me of the days we spent in Florida before and after my father passed. I’ve only lit it once; for a number of reasons that are not easily explained and will only ever make sense to me.

It remains nestled in a decorative, golden-jacquard mini-trunk, along with sympathy cards, newspaper clippings, funeral pamphlets, and a laminated bookmark type obituary, also in blue.

Since then, I’ve seen more. … interesting … offerings. Ashes swirled in glass globe paperweights, baubles with secret compartments, rings and pendants and cremation ‘diamonds.’ Some quite beautiful, truly – just not for me.

I didn’t choose a decorative urn, but was told I could do that later when I picked up the ashes.

I won’t assign them ‘Jeff’s ashes’. They’re not his. They’re not him. They are only ashes. That’s all.

Quote for the Week: 2020 02 25 assign your feelings any name you want jakorte

 

 

 

 

Bits and Pieces

The first question wasn’t what I expected.

The first question was whether or not I had told Jeff’s dad.

I had not called Jeff’s father. Nor had I called Jeff’s sister.

Partial cowardice, partial propriety. I couldn’t.

I could not do that. Tell him. Tell her. Not on the telephone

I don’t know if my explanation was taken as a request or if it was realized that none of them would be able to make those particular calls, either. The news was delivered to each by the trio, in-person.

I can’t put a time on how long they hovered, statued in their spots. Where the entryway linoleum met the carpet, loomed a gap none of us would breach. I maintained my seat, way more than arm’s length away. As if being in closer proximity might alter the containment each of us were fighting for.

If any conversation of action took place with or without my participation, I have no recall.

In exactly the same way they appeared, the three men were gone.

The next bit, I recall standing outside of our bedroom telling Jeff’s sister, “No.”

“I want to see him,” she’d said.

But he was near-naked and undignified, and I unexplainably felt strongly compelled to stop her. It flashed through my mind so quickly, I’m not sure the thought was my own.  He does not want her to see him that way; to have that final picture stuck in her mind.

Much in the same way, I don’t remember anything else about her being there; her coming or going, who came with her or anything.

The next piece, I see myself sitting on the other end of the couch nearby Jeff’s Aunt on an out-of-place chair and a cousin sitting on the floor. I don’t remember them coming or going, either – just that snapshot.

Sadie was doing her best to make people happy, eagerly seeking out the sad and dropping her ball for distraction.

Quote for the Week: 2020 01 07 bits and pieces can be jakorte

 

 

Expiration Dating

Dodging the bullet didn’t seem to have much of a lasting emotional effect on Jeff. He did slow it down, but he never quit.

I’d still find an occasional bottle stuffed under the computer desk. I’d find an empty chew container on a shelf. “Oh,” Jeff’d p’shaw. “Those are old.”

One time, he even blamed it on his father. “Oh, Dad must have left that behind,” he told me.

“Does your step-mom know your Dad chews?” I snipped. “Maybe I should call her and tell her so you can both detox together!” “No, no, don’t do that,” he pleaded. “It’s mine. Dad bought it for me…. but I haven’t had any for a real long time.”

“Did you tell your dad about the biopsies?” I asked. “Yeah, he knows,” Jeff mumbled.

“Then, why the hell would he buy it for you?” Jeff answered that question slowly. “Because… I asked him to…. I just wanted a little bit…”

He held out his hand to take it from me. I didn’t give it to him.

“I’ll get rid of it for you.” I told him. “Aw, don’t throw it away,” Jeff whined. “It’s almost new. I promise… it’ll be my last one. I won’t buy anymore.”

“It’s your last one,” I agreed. I walked out to the back porch and dumped the shredded contents behind the house.

“Aw, dang it.” I heard behind me. Jeff had followed me out.

He stopped me before I walked back in. “Let’s just sit out here for a bit,” he requested. “It’s a  nice night. We haven’t done this in a while.” So, we sat, talking about non-important things: tightly holding hands until the sun went down – a settling, comfortable reminiscence of ourselves and who we were, together.

After a few more and more frequent “those are old” excuses, I embarrassingly became very belatedly suspicious.

The next tin I found, I kept to myself, having decided I would take it with me to Jeff’s regular Speedway station. I wanted to know if they were truly all old misplaced remnants or if  he was truly lying to me. How was I planning to determine that? By expiration date.

The very next day, I dropped off my last van pool passenger and drove directly to the source. I stood in line feeling angry and sneaky, betrayed and betraying: wholly conflicted.

I didn’t want to catch Jeff lying, but I didn’t want him to make a fool of me, any longer, either. I also didn’t want to cause a scene in front of other customers. So, I took deep breaths, trying to make sure my voice would be calm.

When it was my turn, I pulled the recently found Skoal container from my purse and quietly asked, “Do you carry this brand?”

The clerk quickly turned away from the register and grabbed a matching green one from the dispenser behind the counter. “Anything else?” he asked.

“Oh, no. I don’t want to buy it…” I hurriedly explained. “I just want to know the expiration date.”

The clerk stared at me. “Seriously,” I prompted. “It’s important. I just need to know the expiration date.”

He picked it up, turned the little package over and around a few times. When he finally located it, he pointed to the dot matrix printed notation.

I nodded my thanks and left without a word. I had my answer.

Quote for the Week: 2019 02 17 hold hands meet in the now jakorte