agduff: Yah, I can’t say I remember the latter parts of the night
me: me neither haha i woke up with soo many mystery bruises
agduff: ME TOO!!!
agduff: My left ass cheek and under my left arm!
me: omg me too! i have a big scratch across my back a huuge bruise on the underside of my arm
agduff: Haha, how did that happen
me: and a big bruise on my butt cheek
agduff: We did something stupid I bet
me: im sure
agduff: You can blame me, it’s probably my fault.
me: haha well im glad yer in the same boat as me
agduff: Indeed, no broken bones so we’re good.
me: i was concerned i may have fallen off the terrace hahaha
agduff: Haha, thats what everyone down here thinks I did
Either that or crawling inside
me: ahha good point i can imagine i may have struggled getting back into my window at some point the drunker points
agduff: I imagine I might have tried to dive onto the couch at some point
me: haha well, justin has the pictures
agduff: Oh no.
i saved a bug
haha oh yeah?
i am a hero
a hero for all bug-kind
i was going to kill it
but then i was like
why would i kill it just for being here
its not the bugs fault its so gross
it’s like slapping ugly people every time you see one
“…I was awoken one morning particularly early. It must have been about five in the morning. My mother walked in solemnly, and I could feel my heart burst up through my brain down into the bottom of my belly, slither down my legs, and seep like steam out of my fingers and toes. I felt entirely deflated.
“Grandma is gone.”
And snap, just like that. Gone. I started to reconsider everything I had thought on my nature walk about life and the meaning of it. Why did people have to die? Life was so unfair! I hugged my mother silently and had no idea what I could say to console her. Like death, I believe the issue of consoling someone on an unchangeable matter is another part of life I don’t think you understand any better as you age, either. It always remains one of the most awkward things possible. I am concerned that they may think I am being insincere, or so sincere it seems false. Don’t people get tired of hearing “I’m sorry” from others when they have lost someone they love? What is everyone so sorry about anyway? They probably didn’t kill the person, which seems to be the only reasonable circumstance to say “sorry” to someone facing loss. I haven’t come up with anything much better though, so I guess I am in no position to complain.
I felt that I was going to cry but I always hated crying in front of people. I went to the bathroom to take care of the expulsion of some tears. I turned on the light, splashed some water in my face. Looked up in the mirror and let out a horrible scream. MY FACE! What happened to it? I looked like a burn victim.
Mom and Dad came bursting in the door. Before they could even attempt to interrogate the purpose of the shriek, they froze. They saw what I saw. I was a mutant. Disgusted and mortified, I looked down over my arms and hands. It was everywhere. I was diseased. I was gross. I was swollen and covered in a red and white rash of puss from head to toe. All this talk of death began to get me nervous. Was I dying? I’m too young! Why me?
I began to think about what television shows I hoped they played re-runs of in heaven. I dreamed of a brand new bicycle from Jesus and as many cheese puffs as I wanted without ever getting fat. No more dessert only after dinner, no more long division, no more bed times. My daydreaming was immediately cancelled by a stern interrogation by my mother.
“This looks like poison Ivy, Valerie. Where were you?”
I frantically thought of every possibility, still trying to ease my mind of the possibility of death. Then it hit me: the nature walk! How ironic, I thought, that the very thing that brought me to consider the depth of life and death is what gave me this disease.
“Am I going to die, Mom?”
“No! Of course not! We just need to get you some cream.”
Whew, what a relief. I was going to be ok!
Suddenly, I began to feel horribly guilty. Already convinced my sinister pranks gave my Grandmother the condition that killed her, I now topped it off with detracting from the impact the news of her death should have had on us with the discovery of my puffy and oozing red face. I was ugly, itchy and remorseful.
Considering the conditions, one positive thing I can say for it all was that I got a day off of school. Every kid loves that. And so we went to the funeral director to plan for our next few days. The place was an old Victorian stuffy building in Brooklyn. The carpets were floral printed and faded and the place smelled like flowers and lead paint. We choose a casket we felt best represented her tastes, we choose how many seats we needed. If you care about the finances of those who survive you, don’t make a lot of friends in life because funeral homes charge by room capacity.
The next morning, we headed back to Brooklyn for the wake. On the ride there, my parents debriefed me on how to politely manage my mutant-ness when guests attempted to embrace me.
“You may be contagious, so don’t let anyone near you,” warned my Mother adding that it was understandable if anyone found my appearance “frightening.”
My mother and I were the first to arrive into the room where the wake was to be. And BLAM! right in front of me was the first dead body I had ever seen. There laid my Grandma, except she wasn’t my Grandma. Her face reminded me of the face mask Robin Williams wears when he goes into Mrs. Doubtfire-mode and all her veins showed.
My mom insisted I kneel down next to her and pray. So I knelt next to her and tried to figure out how to pray. I couldn’t figure out how to initiate a conversation with God. I wondered: Do you start with a “Hello?” Or maybe it’s more like a letter where you should start with “Dear God,…” What do you even say after that? I’ve been on blind dates with better conversation-starters than this praying session. I started to get concerned when I saw my Mother deeply in the prayer- zone while I was still struggling with how to begin. Finally, she seemed done and gave me a look to imply our prayer time had ended and we better get up to give the next person a spin on the ol’ kneelers.
People started shuffling in. All of them were greeting me from a safe distance. Feeling sad, confused, overwhelmed and itchy, I decided to take a break from it all in the ladies lounge. The ladies lounge was a room which separated the outside world from the bathroom. It was like a really classy women’s only living room, equipped with three ratty vintage sofas, a coffee table, ash trays and a stick of deodorant. I stared at my rashy mug in the mirror for a bit while I brought myself mentally up-to-speed with what the hell was going on. I then applied some of the complimentary deodorant. Once I felt satisfied with my level of reflection and freshness, I decided it was once again time to mingle with the folks upstairs.
I pushed the door and then I pulled the door. Then I began screaming while banging and kicking at the door when I realized the pushing and pulling business was doing nothing to get the giant, old wooden door to open. I did this for a while until I became exhausted. Defeated, I slid my back along the cold tile wall to the floor and sit there, staring up at the ceiling. How was I going to get out of this mess? Not only was I entirely mutated, but now I was alone in the basement of a smelly old funeral home and no one could hear my screams. I began to feel real sorry for myself when I noticed a small, square window at the top of the toilets which lead to the street. While I am no MacGyver (I was actually quite a pudgy and awkward shaped little kid), I figured this was my only way out unless I wanted to stay locked in this creepy dungeon-like bathroom for an indefinite period of time.
My first step onto the edge of the toilet seat and my foot had already plummeted into the cold, pale brown toilet water. Of course. While dampened, I persevered, determined to escape this nightmare. As I attempted to drag my rashy, rotund self out of the window, I felt the stares of pedestrians, clearly shocked to see a mutinous creature dragging itself out of the basement window of a funeral home. Brushing off any unfair judgment, I grunted and sweated as I used all the strength I had to the sweet, sweet taste of freedom.
When I finally had mounted myself entirely on the ground outside, I gathered my bearings, brushed myself off and casually headed back inside. Everyone inside seemed to be gathered all together in the back of the room..”