“Hey, how are you?”
It’s Justine, my friend from Queensland calling to make Christmas plans.
“You’ve got me in the middle of burning my mother and father in a ceramic bowl.”
“I’m doing a Zen funeral, wrote down all my anger and now burning the paper and taking the ashes to the creek down the road.”
“You’re scattering your parents ashes in the creek? What, now?”
“No, their ashes are in the funeral home.”
“Then who are you pouring into the creek?”
A madness has settled upon me of late, like a layer of dust mixed with sweat you can’t get clean. There’s a heat in my head and a stone in my heart after a year that threatens to never end and I fear the stress will kill us all.
So, I write the madness out, scribbling words with a pen on sheets of printer paper. The writing becomes illegible as the anger turns the ballpoint to a spear and the poison seeps upon the page after page. Don’t censor just keep the pen moving, nothing is off limits or out of bounds for these words are a panacea, committing the madness to the paper to cool the heat and break the stone.
I am not sure what burning them in a bowl on my dead parent’s porch is supposed to do but I feel lighter, though now my skin vibrates with the anger that came from my pen but I’ll deal with that later. I have been told the ritual must end with the ashes poured into a waterway and I wonder if the piddly creek at the end of the street will suffice.
It sounds stupid, I know, but it was this or cover myself in leeches to let my blood to reduce this fever in my mind. The ashes pour from the bowl but the wind throws them back onto the reeds away from the creek water and while my perfect anxiety thinks I’ve failed the ceremony and therefore my life, my inner sceptic is thrilled with the game and can’t wait to take the piss later.
This is what 2021 has become, a burned-out mass produced dessert bowl from Freedom Furniture filled with anger that now clings to reeds by a muddy puddle that thinks it’s a creek.
I throw the bowl onto the empty road and watch it smash against the bitumen, feel a heady joy of release, mentally counting how many more Freedom bowls I have left to sacrifice to the gentile streets of my parents’ town.
There’s 7 for those asking.
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