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The Funeral, July 23, 2055
I don’t remember my mother. We had recordings of her singing, that is all. She died when we were young and dad never remarried. He raised us alone. He was a grumpy old ecologist with three rambunctious boys. All of his friends were doctors or professors. It made for a strange and daunting home environment. As soon as we were old enough, he began dragging us up north on his scientific expeditions.
Dad was a hard sonofabitch. His father had died when he was young and he had to fight for everything he had. They were poor. My grandmother worked in a bank, and then, a credit union, for dad to get an education. He did well enough to win a scholarship. Grandma was put out that he went into ecology, but in the end, she supported his decision.
My father was difficult, not because he was mean, but because he was meticulous and demanding. He expected the same of us. He spent his whole life unravelling life systems in the north. He was famous for it. He expected without question that we three would live our lives in the same spirit. Jon’s tendency to generalize and Matt’s outright not caring were hard for him to take.
As I said, my father was hard, and still, I cried like a baby at the funeral. I felt like I had been struck on the chest by some immense hammer. You might think you are calm and collected, down to earth at such times, but trust me, you are floating in shock, baffled from the world, from what you might think by clouds of ritual, memory and pain. The visitation, the condolences and the funeral passed in a haze.
I remember looking at Jon after the interment and asking him, “What are you going to do now?”
Matt answered, “I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go home and get drunk.”
“That sounds like a plan,” said Jon.
“A good plan,” I said.
For a second we three locked eyes. Other people were there, mom’s family and dad’s, a lot of university people, but we three were the solid core, a shining white triangle in the heart of the moment. I don’t think I have ever felt as close to my brothers before.
“Okay, but first we have a reception to endure,” said Matt.
Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor
For further information see:
A Gentle Introduction.
Last modified October 23, 2012