Okay Folks, this one is kind of crazy. You can chalk it up to the changing of the seasons scrambling my brain, or maybe the fact that yesterday was the saddest day of the year for me. Yep, I put the Mustangs up for the winter. Anyway, thanks as usual to the incredible Mikothebaby for making this story readable.
The funeral had been touching. It had been a truly beautiful ceremony. The flowers were fresh and the church looked and smelled great. The sun was high in the sky and beaming down on the people who attended, as if God was thanking them for their presence as he accepted one of his own into the kingdom of Heaven.
The priest had prayed and praised the departed, imparting upon her character the greatest accolades that could be said about any earthly woman, while I sat back in the first row giving the greatest acting performance of my life. I listened to it all with a completely straight face, nodding along with his words in seeming agreement, while inside I was laughing my fucking ass off.
I'd practiced for at least a couple of days by having Darla read the priest's speech to me while I tried to remain calm and collected. In the end, I'd failed. I hadn't been able to sit idly by and listen to a pack of lies, so I had taken the next best step. I was paying for the fucking funeral, so I got to say what happened. I changed the priest's speech.
Where originally he wanted to say that she was a great wife and mother, I edited it. He said instead that she was a wonderful mother to her children. Where he wanted to call her honest and caring, I made him change it to forthright and stalwart because nobody really knows what those things mean anymore. In fact, I was puzzled myself so I googled them and then had him take out forthright, because Kathy was a lot of things, but forthright wasn't one of them.
In actuality, the whole ceremony was a farce. Kathy wasn't even a fucking Christian, so having the ceremony in a church was meant to be a slap in her face. It was a sham meant to show penitence to my two and a half adult children. I really didn't want to do it, but Darla wanted a fucking family and my kids wanted me back in their lives as well.
My kids had no idea, what to make of Darla, and I wasn't saying a fucking word about her. As Darla pushed my wheelchair over to the grave after the casket had been lowered into place and I was supposed to throw or drop the first ceremonial clump or handful of dirt on the casket to send her spirit heavenward, I faked tears and infirmity. The few people there were touched and I gestured to my son Rad, short for Conrad, to assist me.
Had I not been there, it would have been my son Michael's job as the first-born son to handle it. My asking Rad to do it was a sign to family members that the breach between the two of us was well on the way to being repaired. My two other children, Michael who was thirty eight and Jessica, at thirty four, smiled and nodded; they liked seeing the rift between Rad and I healed. Conrad, who was thirty five, gently sprinkled dirt over the rich wood of the casket, while holding my right hand.
"Be at peace Mother. We all loved you and you should know that your family is united again as you leave us," said Conrad sadly.
Had Darla not pinched my hand so hard it nearly drew blood, I'd have lost it and burst out laughing. I screwed my face up in reaction to the pain of her pinch. Most of the people at the funeral mistook my pain for me thinking that I regretted the things that had kept my family apart for the past seven years.
Having Conrad drop the dirt was a master stroke on my part. On one hand, it saved me from having to do it. If I'd had my way, the casket would have been lowered into the grave with the lid open and instead of dropping dirt on the lid; I'd have pissed or spit into Kathy's face. The second reason is because when you get two alpha males in a pissing contest, only one of them can win. Conrad had always been an asshole and a wise ass and for the past seven years he'd been like a ship without a rudder. He'd been lost at sea with no landmarks to steer by and I had caused it for pure shits and giggles.
Conrad and I had a difference of opinion and, as usual, he tried to get into something that he should have had the sense to stay out of. It was the wrong time for him to do that, so Conrad ended up as collateral damage in the war between his mother and me. I did feel sorry for what I'd done to Rad, but if his pain and uncertainty over the past seven years made him a better man, it was worth it.
As the few people who'd come to see Kathy off left, after slowly parading past the grave and dropping their samples of earth on the box that would be her home until it rotted away over the next several centuries, I groaned.
"What's wrong, Fossil?" asked Darla. Her voice, which none of my children had heard until that point was paralyzing. It was the kind of voice that should be relegated to late night, smoke filled, jazz clubs and phone sex operators.
To say that my kids were shocked at the way she spoke to me was an understatement.
"I just don't feel like getting back in that fucking box or going back to that fucking place," I said.
"Freudian slip?" she asked, causing my kids to look at her again. They'd assumed that a woman who looked like her would probably be stupid. So even knowing a term like, "Freudian slip," let alone using it casually and in the right context, meant that they'd have to re-evaluate her and her position in my life yet again.
"Look," she said, kneeling next to me regardless of what it looked like. "You're just skittish because for the past three weeks, while you've been in the nursing home, you haven't been getting any sex in any way, shape or form..."
Both of my sons' mouths dropped open and I thought my daughter would have a heart attack right then.
"To tell you the truth..." she continued. "I've been getting a little antsy myself. But your doctor says you can come home tomorrow. So I guess it really doesn't matter if we go there now. It has to be tomorrow already somewhere in the world."
I smiled and nodded. I could tell my kids were even more shocked at her line about being a little antsy herself.
"As for the second part," she continued. "You're still going to have to ride in that box to get there. You can't bend your leg at all for another three weeks at least. So there's no way we can get you into the Mustang and even if we could get you into it, I can't drive a stick. And you can't either with your right leg broken."
"Good," I snapped. "I can make sure that all of the lovers you snuck into my house while I was at the "retardiment" home didn't steal my stuff or damage anything." She looked really smug about that.
"Don't worry," she said. "I made sure to clean up after them and wash all of your clothes that I let them wear after they did me." The kids probably didn't notice it, but Darla was hiding something. We'd have to talk later.
"So which one of the nurses at the home will be my replacement?" she asked. "Which one of those old biddies was giving you the blow jobs under the table when I left every day?"
"Why do you want to know?" I asked. That was as far as the conversation got before Michael, ever the voice of reason and squeamishness interrupted.
"Uhm, Dad," we'd like to talk to you some," he asked. "Would it be possible for us to come home with you and talk for a while?"
"I guess..." I said.
"Uhm, Mike, please keep me in the loop, if you can?" said Conrad, turning to go.
"Rad, where are you going?" I asked. "Aren't you coming too?"
"I didn't..." he hesitated. "I didn't think you'd want me to come. I thought maybe this was some kind of family thing. And with Mom gone ... I'm not..."
"Conrad, you are, were and always will be just as much my offspring as Michael or Jessica. I love you just as much as I do them. You are my son. Nothing in this world can ever say anything different."
Conrad had tears in his eyes as he looked at me. "How about that DNA test that you took to court," he said.
"Well, yeah there's that," I said laughing. "But there are things we need to talk about and you should be there too. Shit, I'm fifty nine years old and if anything, this has proven to me that I won't live forever. I'd like to have my family around me in my golden years. So let's all sit down together and have a meal and a few drinks and talk about the past, the present and the future, with open minds and no pre-judgments left over from by-gone days."
"I wish Mom could have lived to see this," said Jessica. I couldn't help it. I let out a snarky laugh.
"But Dad," she said, looking at me strangely after my laugh. "You were there with her in the end. And you said such nice things to her. My heart melted." I chortled and Darla smiled at them and told them they could follow us to our house.
Darla had called our favorite restaurant before the funeral and arranged for a meal to be catered. She quickly set the table as the kids and I made small talk.
I noticed that on one of her trips back and forth between the dining area and the kitchen, Michael went after her. He came back a few moments later with a big smile on his face and declared, "I guess she doesn't want any help."
He shrugged his shoulders and looked at me. "Dad, would you really short her check if someone helped her?" he asked. "That's kind of cold, isn't it?"
"Michael, how much money do you earn?" I asked, pretending I didn't already know about Michael's salary, his failing marriage or his gambling problem.
"I make almost fifty, Dad," he said warily. I nodded. Michael had been fairly truthful if you considered thirty thousand to be almost fifty thousand.
.... There is more of this story ...