on sunday morning i wake up early.
i prepare myself for the day ahead of me. its going to be strange.
i arrange a ride to the same small town i grew up in, escaped, all those years ago.
i need to get ready.
in the bathroom i look in the mirror. my normal self looks back. i don't look tired. my eyes are not red. i do not look distressed or distraught.
i look detached.
i frown at the mirror. Sometimes i worry that my "professional detachment" has metastasized too far into the margins of my personal life. this is definitely one of those times.
i shower. wash my hair. brush my teeth. curl my lashes. dress myself in black.
i'm excited to wear my new dress.
don't be dumb.
my legs are pasty and fish belly white, marked with too many bruises and scratches for normal wear and tear.
thank you, wrestling dogs and cats for a living.
i will need pantyhose, which i don't have.
i put on my shoes and my coat and so does Richard. we'll go for coffee and hosiery before we split up for the afternoon.
by the time we sit for coffee my feet are already sore and a bit red across the top where the leather edge has bitten into them. they won't rub so much once the pantyhose are on, but i'm glad to have something to focus on if things get weird.
"its just so weird", i tell Richard.
today i'm going to the wake of a girl nine years younger than me. we grew up together and our parent would go out and i'd babysit. we'd catch bullfrogs in the creek and snakes sunning on the stone walkway. we'd build forts in the woods and watch cartoons.
her name was "minnow" back then and she was the kind of kid you could tell straight away would grow up to be someone amazing.
and then she did grow up, and our families drifted and she got away from me, and now its been years and she's gone; died.
gotten away from all of us.
she was at university. told her mum she wasn't feeling well, went to bed...that was it.
she was twenty years old.
i'm the only one in our family who can make it to the wake.
"it IS going to be weird", Richard nods, "death is a pretty fucked up thing"