What follows is a smaller section from a story that I had to abandon. Be nice, please, and thank you for reading!
Lena Cage hailed from a long line of people who owned, grew, and operated great butts. While it may seem a rather ribald detail to offer about someone, it is in fact that truth.
The butts that composed the Cage family operated healthfully in the normal fashion.
They provided ample cushioning when sat upon.
They passed waste like champion derrieres.
They provided hours of amusement including but not limited to: slapping, pinching, poking, farting, farting on ill-natured people, and consensual acts of sodomy (between peoples of appropriate ages) after the Supreme Court ruled the anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional in 2004.
At present, Lena’s bum was rather tender.
She had been in car for some time with her mother and brother. They had been collecting and organizing a caravan to Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery in North Olmsted.
Today was the day that they were going to inter Lena’s father.
They had just picked up Lena’s grandmother, her mother’s mother, and were on there way to pick up an Aunt that Lena never had anything to do with who lived close by the cemetery.
“You know, there’s still time to give the Old Man a proper Viking funeral… You know: light him on fire and let the birds pick over what’s left from the pyre” Lena said.
Her brother chuckled.
Mom didn’t say anything. She looked like she was having a hard enough time piloting the car.
Granny clucked her tongue in disapproval as she tried to mortar her ass around from the front passenger seat to properly give Lena the skunk-eye.
Ever since Lena was a small child, she could not figure out the point of funerals. She understood that people die on a regular basis. But what the actual point of getting a bunch of people together in a poorly decorated room to cry over the absence of someone they loved escaped her even today. It didn’t produce immediate closure. It didn’t make sense.
The closest that Lena ever got to solving this mystery of life was when she realized that people on a very large scale, are selfish.
They want things. They want what the advertisers (regardless of where they see the advertisements) tell them that they want. They want what their neighbors have. They want what other family members have, even if it is something that is a part of the person’s personality.
With funerals, people are selfish because they seemingly want to feel miserable about missing the recently deceased.
Why else would funeral homes still be in business?
In most cultures even today there is no ‘big ceremony’.
In certain areas of India along the Ganges, it takes time before the body of a deceased family member is disposed of properly.
In Tibet, the body of the deceased is taken to a mountaintop where it will eventually become fodder for the birds and other animals. The beautiful part about this was that this practice was commonly referred to as a ‘sky burial’.
When she was in high school, Lena read about the life of Korean families during the time of the Korean War.
Since most families were poor, they typically stayed together. That is, they didn’t separate like American families when a child becomes a legal adult. When there was a birth in a Korean family, the oldest member of the family would take a jug of water and go down to the banks of the local river and wait to die.
Lena saw that there was a beautiful kind of poetry in the idea of the oldest member of a family sacrificing (for lack of a better word) their own life so that the youngest, newest member of a family could have a solid chance.
Still in the process of mortaring her ass so she could give Lena her what-for’s, Lena couldn’t help but compare this ideal to the life that her Grandmother has led thus far.
By all accounts, Grandma was a nice person. To people outside of the family, she would be pleasant, engaging, and hospitable even.
To people who were family, who knew how she was and what she had been through, she would continue to uphold the facade that she would for outsiders but there was always an underlying tone in her voice that would convey that Grandma didn’t give a shit about anything else other than the next family get-together and if everyone, even the really distant relations, was going to be there.
As the years bore on, Granny’s attitude worsened.
Retired, and with nothing to do, Grandma sat around feeling like a privileged senior citizen.
She came from the point in time when you worked at a job you hated so that you could support your family and so that you could eventually retire from the very job you hated. What the people of her generation failed to realize is that you needed to be active. You needed to be mentally engaged. If you weren’t, everything atrophied: Inside of your body and outside of it as well.
As much as it pained her to admit this, Lena couldn’t fault the woman for how she turned out to be.
Lena’s grandmother came from a time when women were responsible for the children, the house and everything that has to do with it and above all else, the happiness of the husband.
Lena could never understand why most women of that day and age accepted that kind of life.
‘Its practically stone age thinking’, Lena thought to herself.
Ever since Lena could walk, her parents knew that she was an independent spirit.
Since Lena’s first day of school, she knew that she, and she alone was responsible for her own happiness. The idea that it was the woman’s job, the woman’s place in life, to make sure that her husband was happy (instead of the husband being smart enough, being man enough, to be in charge of his own happiness) lest she get beaten for doing a poor job of any of it, raised Lena’s hackle’s.
Lena knew that her Grandmother had suffered that fate for a long time. Her grandfather was dead long before Lena had been born. Lena could only imagine what he would have thought of her should he had been alive during her time.
Regardless of her Grandmother’s personal history, Lena couldn’t help but cringe at the idea that she shares the same genes as this person. Here’s a woman that is in the winter of her life. When she retired, she sat on her ass so much her legs atrophied nearly to the point of complete uselessness, and then she decided to go out and get a job.
Just so that she could have something to do. But that wasn’t enough for Grandmother. Eventually, she retired from that job and with nothing else to do, she became the Matron of her family that no one wanted her to be.
It borders on the point of ridiculousness. If Lena isn’t on her A-game at family functions, she’ll get cornered by her Grandmother and will have to suffer through the endless one-way conversation slog about cousins and distant relations that Lena never gave a shit.
Granny had succeeded in turning around so that she could properly give her granddaughter the nasty look that the ‘Viking’ comment had merited.
Looking at her Grandmother, Lena tried to force her facial muscles into something of a smile. She was out of practice. She hadn’t done much of it since her father had passed away.
“This woman would never take the jug of water and sit down by the river waiting for Death”, Lena hissed to her brother.