A Natural Indifference
When bad news crashed into me, I didn't really show much pain. Little droplets may seep out as fatigue or not eating, but, overall nothing. A natural indifference would envelop me.
It would be like I'm going through the motions of life, registering everything, but I would be trying so hard not to break down completely on the inside. I had my reactions down to a study. If someone said this, then I react like this. If I say that, then someone would react like that.
would keep my words to the minimum, above the bar os suspicious activity, but below my typical socializing ways.
The first time I developed this was when I was six. I understood more than a six-year-old should, but I was still very much caught up in my own naivete. I knew where babies came from, I knew what sex was, and death was able to be fully comprehended without fear. I knew what to say, and how to say it. I was a very odd six-year-old.
My grandmother had died that year in September.
I was the youngest one at my grandmother's funeral abd burial. My and my sister, Sandu, wore nearly matching dresses. Mine was black with a purple collar, sleeves and rose decoration on the two front pockets. Sandy's was exactly like it, only it was pink. We both had jackets, also, big puffy ones. Mine was silver, and her's was light burgundy.
Our mother had been crying alot all that day and on the eight-hour drive up to Ohio. Infact, everyone was crying, including my sisters and brothers. I felt aliennated by this, because I was the only one who didn't have tear streaks down her cheeks.
My mother pulled Sandy and I over to the side the day of the funeral before we ledt and told us:
"Now you're gonna be good, okay? Grandma isn't coming back," she choked a little at this phase but continued, "You'll see her, but she won't talk to you. Don't hug her, or kiss her like you usually do, okay?"
I nodded silently, but Sandy squealed an annoying question, "But why?"
I answered for my mom, "Because she's dead."
My mother looked at me, concerned. I looked her dead in the eye and didn't break the eye contact. She was the one who turned away.
We went to the funeral home. Everyone was either crying, laughing, or doing a combination of the two. I walked around by myself and looked at the random displays. It came time for the service and I sat down in the very front as everyone professed their love for my grandma. Her casket was still open after the service, so I took one last peek.
She was wearing a purple broach on her bur wool jacket. She had on a white colonial shirt was frills tucked underneath the jacket. Her hands were neatly folded near her navel, where her wedding band was still cemented into place. She was real, but not completely. She looked like wax. She looked too perfect. She looked like she needed a cigarette.
That's what killed her anyways, lung cancer.
But it would have been more appropriate, if she a cigarette box in her jacket pocket with a lighter next to it. The last time I saw her, she was smoking on her back porch while Sandy and I played with their little white rat of a dog, Prince.
After the funeral we all went back to my grandma's and grandpa's house to eat. Sandy wanted ice cream before she ate anything else. I didn't really care. I wasn't hungry.
But my sister Natalie, turned and said in a matter of fact, yet harsh tone, "Grandma maybe gone, but her rules are still enforced."
Sandy instantly was quieted. I pushed my food around my plate, then scraped the remains in the the trashcan and went into the living room.
That was the first time. The second, third, fourth, and fifth times all were simliar. People dying, a cold apathy admitting itself from me, and me bottling up everything else until I felt it was safe to show. They were all people that were close to me, one would call them the best of friends. Three of them fell into that category. The last one, most recent one actually, was my grandpa in the September of '07.
The harsh, ice-like indifference stayed my natural defence. It's unfortunate really that I had to be broken of that habit. It still rears it's (somewhat) un-welcomed head from time-to-time though.
That's my memoir! Cheery, huh?