It’s good to be home. It’s good to feel that this is my home. It wasn’t always that way. I suppose I’ve changed a lot in the last year. I spend so much time alone that I barely notice it, unless I go to visit Mom. Then, it becomes painfully apparent that I’m not the person she knows and loves anymore. I go along, behaving as though I am exactly that person. She needs that person in her life and there is nothing in Heaven or Hell that could stop me from being what she expects me to be. 

In eleven days, he’ll have been dead a year. Bennie, I mean. Bennie will have been dead for an entire year. Goddamn it. I feel him in my bones. He’s ubiquitous. There was no escape from him in life, nor is there freedom for me in his death. Everywhere I turn, I feel him. God, help me, I cannot take much more. Who in Hell’s bloody belly made up those ridiculous rules about grief? 

Here are the actual phases of grief: 

  • Oh, my God, he’s gone!
  • Oh, my God…he’s really gone…
  • God, please take me, too.
  • Eventually, it all mixes together in a hellish cocktail that the universe force feeds you every single day.

Sunday morning, I’d gone out to Mom’s back porch,  nice and  early, for my usual cigarettes and tears breakfast. When Mom came out, two mugs of her fancy coffee in hand, she took one look at me and was furious. She told me I’d better not shed another tear over that sonofabitch. She said, as she always does, that he’s not worth crying over. That may be true. But she doesn’t understand how badly I failed him. I’ve only just begun to understand it, myself. But I can’t go back and change it. Not even a second of it. He may have been a sonofabitch, but I wronged him and I can’t make it right. I don’t know where to put that in my brain. 

I always thought I stayed squared up with the people in my life. I’ve made it a priority for as long as I can remember. I always hated the thought of having unfinished business with anyone I loved. But I didn’t think I loved Bennie, except like…I don’t know…in the way you love family. You take care of them. And he needed someone. I should’ve left and stayed gone and maybe his girlfriend would’ve taken care of him. But she didn’t know he was an addict, and I didn’t tell her when she wrote to me about how much she knew about our marriage. I was just thinking to myself, as I read the message, that it’s a reasonable conclusion for a married man’s fucking girlfriend to arrive at that….shock!…bad marriage! I wish I’d told her about the others, but I don’t enjoy hurting people. If she’d gone to his funeral, she’d have met the competition. She would not have measured up. He was only fucking her because he had been since high school and throughout our marriage. But she’s not the grade of ass you tell the guys about. Silly bitch. And she also didn’t know that I didn’t take his cheating personally. There were far too many other things to take personally…

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