Her daughter had died the week before and she could potentially get upset about that, but she still went to her grandson’s birthday celebration. Good on her!
The gathering was family only. Two matriarchs and a slew of underrelations. Ronnie was on the non-death side of the family and as such had not been clued in to the cause of the loss. Suicide was suspected, but could not be said. Saying was taboo.
Ronnie was a person who said stuff.
The mother of the deceased entered the room just as Ronnie was hearing from her son about how his arms had been on fire in two separate incidents and, forgetting all about death, Ronnie turned to the mother and started to tell her that burning human flesh smells like roasted pork. She took it in good turn and started to say that all meat seemed to smell the same to her. It seemed like the start of a good conversation.
Just then, Ronnie’s sister appeared at his shoulder and asked him what he was going to eat. Little did he know that this was a ruse to pull him away into a corner there to remind him that the mother was in fact not just the mother but the mother of the deceased.
Of course he said ‘sorry’ and of course he said that he wouldn’t say anything more about the subject and of course he pointed out that the subject was over but, of course, she wouldn’t let it lie and despite him suggesting that she should tie her upsetness to a metaphorical (or perhaps a metaphysical) balloon and let it float away she still kept tapping her head and saying ‘think!’.
Moments later, the other mother arrived and reduced the mother of the deceased to tears by saying how sorry she was for her loss (or words to that effect) and it took a brilliantly off-colour joke from Ronnie to restore her to proper equilibrium.
Ronnie later told the cheerful seeming mother of the deceased that when he’d been talking about pork he’d been referencing the mother’s son’s arms being on fire and she just nodded and said ‘I know’.
Then, after a suitable amount of time, they all went home.
The moral of this story is: if you can’t tie your thoughts to a balloon and let them fly away then write about them on your blog instead.
Ronnie still doesn’t know what anyone died of.