Beside the Acacias

Beside the Acacias (Pt 1 “Baby it’s been so long”)

(This is a creative narrative and work of fiction based on the album “Red of Tooth and Claw” by the band Murder by Death”. The narrative is entirely of my own creation, the events and characters are based off the lyrics of the album but the story is my own.)

The tie was tight around my neck and no amount of fidgeting seemed to help.  I spent a good twenty minutes in the mirror fumbling with the tie, trying to get it to lay right.  At first it was too short, then it was too long, and it always twisted to the left.  Eventually time had crept past me and my tie, and it was time for me to leave.

For now it rested above my belt buckle, slightly twisted to the left.  It was the only tie I owned and I never had much reason to wear it.  I wore it to my brother’s second wedding, before he took off, but that had been years ago.  I had also worn the blasted thing to a dinner party once, trying my best to keep it straight all night.  This was different though, this was a funeral and I wouldn’t have the time or the presence of mind to worry about my tie.  That’s why I worried about it beforehand; it took my mind off of the coming hours.

My mother was a joyous woman, I suppose.  She was happier when I was young, when all of us were under the same roof.  As we grew up she became more distant, but it wasn’t her fault.  She wanted to be a part of our lives but none of us wanted to hurt her with the truth.  My mother was a saint in my eyes, how can you tell a saint something that might hurt her?  My hand trembled slightly as I thought about her, pouring a glass of bourbon to numb me before the event.  She was small in stature but she commanded respect from our family, both our parents did.  Mom was always more passive in nature though, she wouldn’t raise a hand but she sure knew how to holler.  Thinking about her for a minute made me sad, I hadn’t realized it but she was the one I turned to quite often.

I didn’t actually talk to her about anything in detail but I would shoot the shit with her and she’d know something was wrong.  She had a way of calming my nerves without needing to know what the story was.  Sure, she wasn’t able to be close and caring but I didn’t need her to be I just wanted her to listen.

I was wearing my only suit, one that was getting to be short on me but it did the job.  A black suit, a white shirt, a black tie, and even though I had shaved that morning my dark stubble was coming in strong.  It was as clean as I could look, she’d be proud.  I finished my drink fast and grabbed my keys; this wasn’t going to be a comfortable afternoon.  The heat was flirting with the inside of my house but only the fans I had working were stopping its full seduction.  Outside, that’d be a different matter.  Taking that first step out of the door felt like walking directly into the sun itself, it was hot and I was drunk.

I fumbled with my keys for a minute, trying to find the one that would open the car door.  It was certainly a car, whether or not it was my car was a different matter.  The lock snapped back and I sat down in the driver seat, pausing a moment with the hope that somehow the inside of the car would cool off, it didn’t.  I started the car and with a loud moan it pushed itself into starting up. Giving myself a minute to focus on the road I took hold of the wheel and eased the car into drive, a knot in my stomach began to form.

The funeral home wasn’t too far away but the ride was murderous.  It must have been over ninety degrees out and wearing a suit didn’t make it better.  There were sweat stains forming under my jacket, which meant I’d have to keep the jacket on to protect my vanity while making it hotter for myself.  Damned bourbon was making it more difficult to concentrate, but it made it easy to slip away.

I was late, that was always the case.  The preacher was spewing his nonsense when I walked in but he didn’t say a word to me.  The look I shot him told him to just keep going.  I took a seat in the back and stared at the coffin with its door ajar.  There were other people in the room but they didn’t faze me, nor did they deserve my attention.  Once the preacher was done spouting off the people in the room, my supposed family, prayed. I wanted to know where the hell these prayers had been when my family hit the bottom, they didn’t give two shit. They all started to move towards me one by one, as if they were approaching a hurt wild dog.  Each one put a hand on me and mumbled something kind to me, I didn’t listen.  They didn’t want to help me back then yet they wanted to be there for me now, two-faced bastards.

People started to leave and I had some alone time with my mom, her cold body just lying in her coffin.  I looked at her for a while, she looked peaceful, but she was gone and it wasn’t her anymore.  I felt empty, emptier than usual even, and I needed something to fill that hole.  Maybe it’d be a woman, maybe a drink, maybe both.  Either way I knew what my plans were for that night, I knew where I was going.  Those bars are all the comfort I need when I’m down, but I never expected to meet her there.  I never expected to meet anyone like her in my life, but at these bars lives are changed forever.  I guess someone saw fit to go on and change my life with the death of my mother. You know the old saying “When one life goes, another begins.”

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