I didn’t learn to type in school. With the help of a book from the public library, I taught myself when I was in my early thirties. Prior to that, I used the time-honored hunt-and-peck system. I’m a fair typist, not a good one. I can type these lines without looking at the keys. But if I need to incorporate numbers, I have to look down.
Once many years ago, thinking I was clever, I wrote, “In an afterlife where all the typewriter ribbons need changing, suicide becomes the only option.” Now I contemplate such a statement with bemused horror. For suicide itself could very well lead to the afterlife I described — an afterlife which follows too much coffee and so much dread-seriousness that one can no longer live with his poorly inked, unoriginal thoughts — an afterlife too present for comfort, and which is itself a faded, worn ribbon.
August 30, 2021
A new gray pickup was parked beside the road in front of my childhood home, just past our Canary Island pine. Out of it, one by one, their feet in shoes on the ground, came several dead relatives on my father’s side — old uncles and cousins different now and restored to health, restored from suicide, cancer, and loss.
My Father’s Side
September 13, 2009
Lord, I said from a plateau of unbelieving, it’s good to see them again.
And who is this extra brother, friendly and familiar as all the rest?
The wind blew off my hat. I caught it mid-gust and put it on again.
I’d crossed the road to get the mail. Our mailbox had been chopped down, so I walked on to a neighbor’s house that wasn’t there in the past, and found the mail waiting for me on a table outside. When I turned around, the relatives were walking toward me.
Joyful greetings all around — but no touching, no handshakes or hugs or rugged back rubs.
We all knew, something.
Crossing again — whatever was there is gone.
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