VOLUME IS READING

IT WAS THE SHITTEST OF TIMES

Mum died on a hot day in August. Seven days later we buried her. It felt wrong for all this to happen when the weather was so fine, when everyone was so happy. I wanted the world to fall to its knees and weep with me. I wanted the skies to cloud over and rain shit on everyone. But, of course, I don't need to tell you, that didn't happen.
So we did the things that get done when this happens, all the while surrounded by cunts in flip-flops on their way to somewhere fun. Crate of beer in one hand, trademarked flying disc in the other.
'Cheer up! It might never happen!' is what they'd say as they passed me during those seven days.
'Maybe l should punch one?' I thought. 'Just one.'
The day itself is foggy to me now, the Doctor had given me some pills. Well, you know me.
Here's what they weren't; Valium.
Here's what they were; I don't remember.
Some kind of 'pam' I guess, but whether it was diazepam, tamazepam, or some other pam I simply couldn't tell you.
Some friend of my mother's had come to stay with me. That's when you reel in those moments of 'bad behaviour,' right? When your mum's friends are round? Sure. But I wasn't about to do that. So I kept up a steady regime of drinking, smoking and the Doc's pills. I dunno if it helped particularly, but it was something to do. Something's better than nothing.
My stepfather was in rehab at the time, so it was decided, in some moment of insane clarity, that I would take charge of my two younger brothers. Yeah. That's right. Hey, but we've all got this, right? You've got your stories of woe too, just that yours are so very very shit.
Fuck it, mum. Why now? Why did all this shit have to happen now?
On the big day I wore white. I'd read something about white as a celebration of the life as opposed to the usual doom and gloom crap. Don't let my get up throw you, I do indeed feel like shit.
It was bitching hot, and packed inside the church.
'Those who die before their time draw the big crowds.'
My grandmother had gone a few years earlier and drew a grand total of five.
Life.
Well.
Spent.
This was different. This was standing room only. They spilled out through the open doors. I managed to hold it together the whole way through. And let me tell you, watching the body of your mother pass through a panel to be incinerated ain't the easiest event to stay dry-eyed through.
The words that people come out with are all just so much shit. ‘She's at peace now.’ What the fuck is that? All I wanted to hear was someone tell me that this was fucked and this was shit. It was wrong and it hurt like hell.
Afterwards we stood outside the church. I don't know, what's funeral etiquette? My youngest brother had started to cry, after a full week of holding it in. Ten years old man, or maybe Eleven. Damn… I should remember things like that. People were patting him and spouting the same old shit that they were saying to me. I walked over to him and held him.
'This is shit,' I said, 'this is just shit.' It wasn't long before my younger brother came over. He knew it too. Held on to us. And we just stayed there like that for the longest time.