I wish I could remember those last days better. Because I had no idea of what was awaiting me, I did not take a detailed notice. I assumed that we would see each other again….that your marriage would get better…that it would somehow work out…..that any advice you sought from me on your last visit would make everything better.
It is February 19th. I don’t remember the exact date you came to see us in Alabama that last time but I know it was in February. I do remember how much weight you had lost. I could tell it in your face. It was a dramatic look since we had seen you at Christmas. I even complimented you and told you how good you looked. I thought it was because of the new kind of training you were doing in boxing. I do remember that….how stupid of me. Marital problems can take away a healthy appetite…like you always had.
We sat at the kitchen table and you and I talked about your marriage problems. (Thank you for coming to me Brandon, you always did.) She had a drinking problem (since before you married her, I think) and you wanted me to talk to her….and I did but in a round about way because I did not want her to be mad at you for having me talk to her. I told her of my childhood miseries because of an alcoholic father and how I felt about him my whole life because of it…thinking she would see herself and her own child in my story. I gave my faith in God all the credit for getting me through my ordeal. You approved beforehand of what I would share with her. It sounded like a plan…didn’t it, Son? I think you left feeling better about what the future would hold. I had even bought a workbook I saw at a flea market about how to make your marriage better and gave it to you before you left. It is now in the trunk that holds many of your belongings. I don’t know why I hold onto it…but then, I have not gotten rid of much if any…except that old ’78 LTD …please forgive me/us….we could not renovate it like you were planning to do…..it is gone now…it tore at me each time I looked at its rusting body sitting out near the open field at a house you have never seen…the house we moved to after you left…….like a monument to all that could have been but never was….the car is gone now…they came and paid us for the scrap metal it has now become….I could hardly wait for the tow truck to pull out from our drive so that my tears could be unleashed. Another loss…..
I wish I could remember more of that weekend. It was always the weekends because of our move to Alabama. I saw you countless times back out from under the carport on Sunday afternoons…always Sundays…..our departing hugs….goodbyes…flashbacks come and go….
In hindsight, I wish we had never selfishly followed our dream of having our own bed and breakfast. I think that maybe there would have been a chance that you would have come out to the house on Lakeview to talk…to get away because we would have been closer in miles….we would have been home….you could have come and stayed…but we were too far away from you…but who knows….you were gone in an instant…they say….but, what do I know? Who could I believe? Your drunk wife? Your not-so-best friend?” The damned investigator, Sherlock Grapone? The ‘fifteen year old’ coroner who giggles when she speaks? All these things, Brandon….they are unbearably too much but it is my life now. Answers…no answers…answers, no answers….shifting shadows that taunt with whispers of what we know, what we don’t know, what could have been, what is…..