Feeding The Habit

"I will go in this Way, Oh but I will find my own way out." -Dave Matthews

Friday, May 14, 2004

Reflection after a visit to hart’s mortuary

I remember little of my Great Grandfathers Funeral. The more I think of it, the farther away it seems… I do remember the viewing. Just before my father led me up the isle to look down into the altar vessel, he placed in my hand a pocket watch that he said belonged to the man up front. He said I should always keep it to remember that man. As I marched down the isle, keeping my father close beside, I found myself fascinated by the button on top. When it was pushed, the watch clicked open like a clam popping up for brunch. The sound it made seemed to resonate off the walls, even off the faces of the people around me and there he was. He looked far too serene to be bothered by death. Besides, I had always been told that life here is just a time of passing.
The next thing I remember is a car ride; one that seemed to have a much better grasp on patience than did the human bladder. After a bit of idle chatter from the front, with the music hanging softly in the air, the car was stilled and as quick as a tear could be shed, we gathered offering final prayers. Some strays filed in, while others walked away, limp, as if they missed themselves. I stood still, and fumbled with the watch in my pocket, pushing the button, then snapping it closed. I tried to see how rapidly I could repeat the process; click, close, click, close, click… until I pinched my finger. I grimaced and fidgeted uncomfortably for a moment. I focused on the large western belt buckle across from me. I tried for once to embrace the feeling of boredom, but there was something greater present. Since arrival, its latches haunted my awareness, but I couldn’t look that way. Through a shinny horse in gallop, I could see that a vessel was now closed, and that left something…unsettled. At last, the clasp shifted - and the image went away.