Maybe in death, when we are no longer casket sharp, our skeletons will expose themselves.
No longer dressed in eloquent words or bowties or flesh but just bones we forgot to bury. Let the maggots make a bed of our bodies as we often did to many living creatures. Exchange secrets like business cards and finally be honest about what we did for a living. Made a mess of so many clocks and hourglasses while we were living, we have some time on our hands. How about we turn these caskets into a round table and have a discussion? There’s six feet of dirt atop of us so I have something to get off my chest.
I wrote my obituary yesterday and not once mentioned you. Hell, I barely acknowledged myself. But writing in third person made it a bit easier. There is such a lack of identity, I travel to my grandfather’s grave to remember he’s my namesake. An invisible man does not know how to describe himself. And writer’s block develops when asked about his father: a man who only knew disappearing.
I was raised by a beautiful woman but I will never love one of my own. Unlike you, I do not have the charm of wooing women. Every girl I pursued knew I would grow into a much older boy that only knew destruction with her private parts. They saw beyond my youthful features another reckless damaged man. A boy with clumsy fingers. Hands covered in adolescencen and lips dusted with an immature moustache. How does a boy tell his mother a woman doesn’t love him? How does a mother tell her only son his father left searching for something he already had?
She was the commander-in-chief and I, her prideful soldier. The hood is a war zone all too familiar. Young boys become prisoners tortured by circumstance. Listen to the drummer boy and trumpet play Pomp and Circumstance. I told myself I was a military brat - the only explanation that made sense to why years walked away and I never met you. Time knew how to fly by as you as had done. You were never enlisted into war but you disregarded your call of duty and went AWOL. I saw my mother fight to emancipate herself from the burdens of being both parents in a worthless economy. I was stuck proving I wasn’t some boy hoping to become a man, but striving to be everything that wasn’t like you.
I was never told the story about the birds and the bees. I simply knew that I was conceived. A mistake on your manuscript, my mother reminded you typewriters were not made to backspace or delete. “So keep this one,” she said. “It might make you proud one day.” As always, she saw beauty in your fuck-ups. Somehow, she knew your ugly parts are what made you attractive. I will never say my mother had bad taste in men. She simply fell for one who wasn’t seasoned enough.
I’m petrified of mirrors. I avoid puddles and windows and storefronts because my reflection is the boogeyman. You cannot think highly of yourself when you resemble a monster preying on women’s insides. I fear my nails will yellow to razor claws and rip apart my son’s childhood. That he will spend many nights crying himself to sleep because his father would rather live in the shadows casted upon the wall instead of tucking him in.
Maybe in death, I can meet your father. Enjoy a cup of loneliness with hors d’oeuvres made of regret while he explains why he madehis life a dissertation of bad parenting. Polish our headstones with the soil atop of us and eulogize our foul names. The good memories will be forgotten. But our bullshit will be conversation starters.
When our ribs are no longer jungle gyms of excuses or a coatrack for apologies, I will look into your eye sockets without hatred and see you for who you are. Then, we can share a platter of earthworms to fertilize our tongues and stop holding garbage in our mouths. Swallow our mistakes - finally admit them and apologize. Challenge you to game of rock paper scissors to make up for the moments never made. Or even shake hands with our bony fingers since there’s nothing to hide anymore. Maybe in death, we can finally be men. Maybe in death, we can finally be men our fathers never taught us to be.