Steve

It was a twenty year wait but there we were together again. He was charismatic and tall and handsome and tough and protective. Steve. Growing up, I’d always wanted a big brother like him. I wish I could say that day we were united in grief, but the man was no more than a stranger to me. Steve cried and retched. I was steely stomached upon seeing the taut skin stretched across the bony outlines of his lifeless face. I felt neither sadness nor anger. I felt nothing. The sun streaming down and his tender, brotherly arm around my shoulder, we had passed rows and rows of caskets in various stages of construction out on the open street on our way to the morgue. The living making a living from the dead. I think I had an elevated and exaggerated perception of how violent that part of the city was. For people, after-all, do die from natural causes, and hunger, heartbreak, accidents, sickness, loneliness. People die from loneliness. I saw that in the pathetic handful of people in the chapel that day. There was no one there to remark upon or to add substance to or to illuminate the darkness that was his life. I myself had nothing of worth but twenty years of gaping silence to say of my father.

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