Monday, February 12, 2007

when i was seven my friend rebecca's father died. a week later she tried to commit suicide by smashing her car throught the garage and into her neighbors' garbage cans. when we were thirteen she took me to the cemetary with her on her father's birthday. i'd never been to a mausoleum before.

at cemetaries i always imagine the dead people below me. lined up head to toe, perfectly symetrically. dressed in their finest. jewish gravestones are sometimes adorned with ceramic images of the dead. that is how i found out my great grandmother's cousin looked just like me. she died of influenza when she was ten years younger than i am now. i would look at my shoes framed by the overgrown lawn at the base of her grave and wonder what kind of shoes she was wearing as i stood, seperated from her only by grass and dirt and pine.

"are the dead people in the walls?" i interrogated rebecca as if she was years older than i, which at that moment she was. yes. the dead people were in the walls. dead people. in the greatest sterile filing cabinet known to man. my father used to clip album reviews and slip them into the sleeves of his records. i wondered what kind of data was in these files. the drawers had handles. i wondered if anyone ever opened them up to look.

after i read spoon river i started reading the obituaries and writing stories about the dead. drawing them. writing their suicide notes.

i would like to buy a card catalogue, oak with brass handles. clip obituraries and carve wooden effigies of the dead. paint them and dress them in tiny dress shirts and ties, or pearls. speculate on their last hours and write it down. file them away in a tiny mausoleum. i would like to do a lot of things that i am never going to do. maybe after i die someone will write that down for me. here lies the girl that, like all girls, wanted to do a million and a half things that she never did.
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