Last Goodbye

Since I’m already married and I haven’t been accused of a crime, my dressing in a suit today can only mean that it’s time to say goodbye. I’ve grown to despise putting on pants that don’t contain the word “jeans” in them. When I pull the dark blue and black tie to my aging neck, I’ll cringe, knowing this will be the fifteenth time I’d performed this sad routine in past twenty years.

A kind, warm-hearted woman with a great laugh and an awesome old-fashioned name will be laid to rest a little after lunch. I called her Aunt Tense. One of my daughters called her “the funny lady”. Cancer is evil. It’s taken a very good person.

If a day can be described as funereal, then today is such. The sky is several shades of gray. Rain has been steady for several hours. Helping carry a casket while wearing a flower won’t be easy, but it’s the right thing to do.

Without overthinking, which is rare for me, I started listening to Jeff Buckley’s 1994 album, Grace. After my wife left for work and my teenager got on the school bus, I turned up the computer speakers and now I’m on my second play.

As a Christian, I believe Aunt Tense is in a better place. But for the love of that God I have Faith in, don’t say that to me, or my beautiful cousins who are without their beloved mother, today. Let us play Jeff Buckley, cry, and wish she was still here, in this gray skied less of a place.

Goodbye Aunt Tense.

Yellow Ledbetter

A dingy white wicker chair sat in the middle of a small, otherwise empty yellow room lined with white baseboards. Her back against the largest wall, where her bed once layed, she swigged the backwash of her last beer and placed the bottle next to the others. The tiny symphony of several glass containers clinking together compounded the loneliness. Her chest glistened with sweat so she pulled up her black Pearl Jam t-shirt and wiped away the perspiration. She stretched out her legs, dressed in faded and ripped blue jeans, and placed her bare feet on the seat of the wicker chair.

Reaching to her right side, she grabbed an acoustic guitar and began to strum. She bent a few chords, and played a little harder as angry thoughts filled her blurry mind. Words stuttered and slurred from her drunken mouth.

“Who are you to tell me how to write

how to live, how to make love, how to fight

I drink too much, sometimes just enough

it’s something I need, to stay hard and stay tough

go find some girl that’ll stroke more than your ego

I’m laying in the bed i made, i know

it’s a floor, with damned yellow walls

but at least I’m me, when i leave these halls

She stopped playing and shook her head in disgust.

“That sucks!” she declared.

Several boxes, most of them filled with her clothes, neighbored the entrance to the room. One box caught her eye. It was yellowed by age and multiple moves from the different places she’d lived. She got up, walked over to the box overflowing with letters and notes. She began to pick out random envelopes and pieces of paper. Some were standard fan mail, but others were from the two people who wanted her out of the lonely yellow room. She read notes from both of them, written months earlier.

“Wow, you two really liked me at one time. Liars.”

She walked over the wall and assumed her previous position. Her legs stretched out, with her bare feet placed in the seat of the wicker chair. She read letters from both of them, him and her, then thought about the last words they said to her.

“We’re in love, just not with you.”

The reality of driving away her two best friends shot through her . The alcohol wasn’t numbing the pain. She picked up the guitar again and tried something else.

“I’m out of beer, out-of-place, and out of your lives

there’s nothing but lone in loneliness

I need to sober up, get right and recognize

I cheated on both of you with music

I ran around, ignored things, and damn I lied

I thought of you two always being here, I abused it

I’m selfish and I’m wrong and now I’m just drunk

I had everything I wanted and I took it for granted

I kicked it, I used it, I threw it away like junk

Now, I just have to live, live with myself, outside these yellow walls.”

She sighed and rolled her eyes.

“That sucks to but at least it’s honest.”

The guitar slid off her lap and landed on the floor. She tilted her head band, knocking her head on the wall. The tipsiness was taking over her brain. Choking back tears, she decided it was time to leave. Bottles were picked up and put into an empty box. She zipped up her guitar inside it’s sleek black case. The letters were put back, and the boxes were piled next to the door. She shook off her dizzy feeling and turned to face the yellow room lined with white baseboards with the lone wicker chair, one last time. She smirked and thought of one final act of rebellion. Pulling a black sharpie from the inside pocket on her guitar case, she marched to the large yellow wall, her bed once lined and her head just left. She pulled off the sharpie top and wrote four sentences. She smiled then snarled.

“Oh well, there went my deposit.”

Ten minutes later almost everything memorializing her was gone. She took away the boxes, the guitar case, the aging white wicker chair and the empty beer bottles.

The largest yellow wall showed something. In black marker, it read.

“She’s gone, she doesn’t live here anymore.

This used to be her room, this used to be her place.

She wouldn’t be tamed, she couldn’t be bored

Good luck sleeping with a memory that you can’t erase.”

***blogger’s note***

This is my response For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Mighty Hunter challenged me with “Your story of 750-1500 words takes place in a yellow room trimmed in white. The only piece of furniture in this room is a wicker chair. Please: no recurring characters, continuing stories, or stories to be continued.” and I challenged Sir with “You or your character is seated on a plane next to celebrity you hate and/or have no respect for. “

This is my last time writing for Indie Ink. Hope they like it.

Today’s song is my interpretation of Yellow Ledbetter by Pearl Jam. The lyrics are non-sensical but it’s about a breakup of a friendship and Eddie Vedder’s level of regret. I kind of ran with that. Here’s PJ with Yellow Ledbetter.

Animal

The mommy’s crying in the corner of the couch next to her computer. I guess what her and the daddy were talking about is true. You’re not coming back.

It’s warm inside this box. I’m glad they haven’t taken me downstairs in the cold, damp basement. It was neat of you to try to pull me out and play with me the other night. I heard your cries and I wanted to snuggle.

I liked your warmth. It was cold on the floor until you came to sit on me. Sharing your snacks and picking on your little sister were a blast. There’s still some frayed pieces of fur that I haven’t lost. They remind me of the time you thought I was your ball or your food or the daddy’s sock. That was funny when you took it from him and came to hide it inside of me. He was so mad.

The other kitten, your little sister, doesn’t pay much attention to me. Maybe I can scoot myself up high in this box and get the mommy or the daddy to show me off to her.

So long, my friend. I’m miss your black fur and prickly teeth. You were sweet and fun.

RIP Jerri the kitten, March 2011 to January 23, 2012

Write on Edge: RemembeREDDo objects have a memory? Does a rocking chair hold the essence of the snuggles it has witnessed? Does a pottery mug remember the comforting warmth it offered a struggling soul?

The dictionary defines personification as “the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.”

This week, tell a piece of your story from the point of view of an object who bore witness.

Today’s song is kind of weird and I doubt even my own family members will understand the choice. I wanted to go with something that coincided with Jerri the kitten’s short life. Neon Trees’ Animal was one of the biggest pop songs of 2011. It played a couple of times she was in the car going to the vet to be looked over. For me, it’s how I’ll remember her.