At the cemetery.
One week after snow avalanching off my roof, already pasque flowers sway beside my foot, more tundra than snow visible.
Wind from the north has us looking like we’re about to sneeze. Dark clouds spanning the mesotroposphere.
I don’t know what the fuck it’s called.
Fitting for a get together recognizing how terrible life is.
Keep checking my phone. Keeping my eye on the clock as I was only granted two hours off work.
Capitalism’s biggest enemy is grief.
Eliza walks up, face vanishing into her husband’s neck, most of her weight against him as he practically carries her forward with the expressionlessness of true agony. Still-living daughter clutching her outstretched hand.
Sobbing like I’ve never heard releases from her. Neck hairs lift at this sound that will haunt our frailest, loneliest moments.
The wind picks up. Bringing rain.
At the foot of the casket the husband arranges her upright. She crumples in a praying to Mecca pose. Hands fist and unfist, pulling tufts of moss and lichen.
Her husband bends, whispers in her ear.
She shoots up, yelling, “I don’t CARE what they think!” Falling back to the ground.
He removes a jacket, laying it over her as rain continues.
“We come here today,” the pastor starts and me and likely everyone else stops listening.
This unmoored, broken mother.
Behaving nakedly. Not giving a shit about social norms.
When asked to consider them, yells, I don’t care.
Not just for baby Briar and Eliza and her family and myself and my stupid bullshit. For the human race. What we’ve become.
Without cue, the circle tightens. People searching warmth. Strangers bringing each other into their arms because suddenly they don’t care what they think.
The pastor finishes and a crack of thunder sounds and everyone takes one extra moment before returning to a life they’d rather not.
Tyler Dempsey is the author of Newspaper Drumsticks, Time as a Sort of Enemy, and Consumption & Other Vices. He lives in Utah and hosts Another Fucking Writing Podcast. Find him on Twitter @tylercdempsey