A Weeping Tale
She’d been here before, this weeping, the emptiness. The sorrow the hell, the brutal wounds ,yet , it’s beauty in this moment is what she called the awe of the raw. To be in this much agonizing pain, allowed her to feel real, alive. The only other alternative was death. She also knew and lived by the mantra, “this too shall pass”. So she will feel what is necessary , enter the abyss , feel the blackness .
.” Wake up Alice it’s your turn to drive” . She awoke into another extraordinary day of living. She realized that she had dozed off for an hour on this long journey to Mexico with her friend Jessie.. She’d never been to Mexico and it was going to take six days of driving to reach their destination . What the hell is six days compared to 60 yrs. That’s how old she’ll be soon. What a life it’s been. Fill with horror, anger, illness, peace, bliss, adventures, discoveries, love , all rooted into one body of life that continues to battle demons of her own and those of her ancestors. She both loved and hated their stories. Their rituals, memories, fears, emptiness, weeping. Yet for all the poverty , worry , god how they love to live, dance and sing.
Growing up in a small fishing village, she can almost hear her grandma say “ child, what’s ailing ya”, get on up now and fetch me my fiddle . It’s a jig you be needing this day, not a weeping tree to be leaning up against.
So up she’d get and sure enough , after a spin around the kitchen floor she’d be filled with the delights of being a child. Before bed there be the wonder of wonders, tea and biscuits. She believes she woke up each morning waiting for nightfall as the sun set over the long range mountains just for her tea & biscuits. She would try them mid afternoon some days, but they never tasted the same. It had to be at bedtime, next to the stove in the kitchen , listening to the crackling fire, smelling her grandfather ‘s pipe and listening to her grandma humming as she rocked in her rocking chair. God how she loved those two. They were her pillars . Alice visited them almost every weekend and holiday. She was the oldest of four children and living at home with a bully of a dad. Alice was happy to be in the comfort and care of her grands when possible
Living at home was dreadful, day in and day out. Alice urinated every time her dad walked into a room. It became habit and stayed with her until she left home at 18. Even today, whenever she thinks of him, off to the washroom she runs. Habit. He meant well , loved family as best he could but his anger at his own life was transferred to all those around him. The small town they lived in were afraid of him. He was an odd ball when it came to drinking. He was a ruthless tyrant when sober ,a kitten when he had a drink in his hand. Alice only ever saw him drunk once. He fell down in the mud at his daughters wedding, face first and it was funny . He never remembered and she never brought it up.
Growing up after the war was bitter sweet. The boys had come home, the women were back in the kitchen after years of working the factories in the city. Those who lived out on the bay were happy to be out fishing . If the girls were not fishing they were fetching their fellers. Getting the catch of the month , their boyfriends.
When they reeled one in, they made sure they did their deeds to keep them.
Alice’s mother was ahead of her time. After the factories closed there was no way she could stay at home . She saw a need for a clothing store in their village and after many meetings, promises to the rural co-op bank ,she opened up her jewel . It was her castle and she it’s queen.
Money was not a priority, status was. And that she had . People adored her , she was funny , beautiful and a wee bit of a trickster. She could con a con, make snow melt on the coldest of days and warm the heart of all who entered her domain.
If Alice was not out fishing, skating on the pond, playing cards, all the things one did in a small village, she worked the store for her mom. When her mother was not at the store, she was home sieving wine. That was her hobby and many a time she’d rise up from the basement with hiccups.
Alice thinks of these things as she is driving on route to Mexico. Jessie is now asleep and Alice is left with the hum of the engine, the sea of trees as she drives with her memories.
The diagnoses of liver cancer has been shocking to Alice but she is refusing treatment. She feels she’s lived a solid life , but is very tired. The will to stay alive has passed much as the passing highway on this trip. She glimpses at all the connections that keep ones life intact. Much like the trees, the highway, the sky, the horizon, all is passing to reach a destination. She has not yet told her family. Why prolong there worry? Her husband Pete passed two years ago. The kids would move on with their own lives in time .
Addictions were a big piece of Alice’s inheritance. These addictions are bitter sweet, the anguish, the release. The bold, the cowardice, the self will run riot, the begging for mercy. Why ? That’s the question Alice will answer on this her last journey. If she wanted to help change one thing to leave a legacy to her grands , then she best be getting on with it . Get to the root ,tell the truth and eject and release.
She remembers the first drink she had to help a painful mo