Saturday, May 15, 2010

Brian 1

The wind blew cold across the silent graves. It wasn't meant to be this way. Somewhere in heaven, or hell, there was laughter.  A sick joke.

Mac stared at the little box that contained all there was left of his best friend's body. Such a big man reduced to so little. And cardboard. If it had been up to him he would have made sure that Brian's ashes were in something more fitting of a creative vibrant man. Brass, pottery, carved wood. Goodness, were the brothers so detached and insensitive that they were unable to even notice the exquisite taste with which Brian had decorated his life? And now they put him in a little cardboard box not unlike the ones you get when you buy a cheap mug from a one dollar gift store.

The green velvet cloth under the box flapped in the wind. Mac so much wanted to open the box and throw the ashes upward to be caught in the airflow but he knew that Brian would have wanted to be put in the earth next to his sweet mother. Someone else must have decided the box was too cheap to look at and they rearranged everything on the pedestal so that the cloth was now completely covering the box and the top half of the columnar pedestal - one of those cheap looking ones funeral homes seem to specialize in.

This was so wrong on so many levels. Brian and Mac had planned to spend the weekend - a long weekend - in the mountains. They both looked forward to getting away from Atlanta and back to the sanity and serenity the cabin offered. No such serenity now as Mac's mind swirled around the thoughts that now plagued him. How much he missed his friend.

"Damn," thought Mac, "should have worn another layer. Is it always this cold in Tallahassee?" The chill wind went straight for the bones.

Barely ten months prior to the funeral, Mac sat in a crowded Starbucks in Midtown. It was one of those drives he forced himself on after Jill had left. He knew he had to get out of the house or he'd rot so sitting in unknown coffee houses was the solution. At least it wasn't a bar. Caffeine didn't kill the loneliness any more than alcohol would have but at least it gave him a bit of a buzz and he could drive himself home.

The coffee shop was full. Mac found himself at a small table with two chairs alone and there he was sipping his cappuccino. He noticed a tall man walk in wearing a blue shirt. "Nice color," Mac had thought at the time, "matches his eyes." The stranger bought a cup of green tea served obscurely in a disposable cup and turned around to look for somewhere to sit. There was but one empty chair in the place. He moved toward Mac and asked if he minded if he occupied the chair.

So met Brian and Mac. Two hours later they were still sitting together talking as if they'd known each other much longer. By the time they decided to go and get dinner at a nearby restaurant they were fast friends, kindred spirits. In an ancient book there is a story of two men whose spirits were knitted together. Knots tied so securely that they would not, could not, come undone. Brothers bound with something stronger than blood.