The walls were made of sad faces. Eyes and noses were leaky faucets that day. I didn’t know why. It was a shuffle between eulogy, in a language foreign to me (English, yes, but I didn’t understand.), and withered wallpaper flowers hovering over chipped vases. I heard they were heirlooms but I think it was the drip drop nose snot mumbling in my ear instead.
She was so close to me. I could smell the potato skins in her shivering teeth. “I’m so sorryso sorrydear. I,I,I don’t know what else.. to..say.” She couldn’t speak to me in her Thursday afternoon voice. Or her Monday gardening voice. I didn’t know why she was weeping but I knew her. I didn’t know why she was sorry but her voice was so much lower than it should’ve been. Like the depths of her existence were lingering in her old throat. I could feel it. I should’ve asked her name before I walked away.
All of those wet faces. They were shining. And I sat there. Dull-faced and dry.
I saw his picture in the hallway. The greatest mourners in the world couldn’t have prepared me. I saw his face. His afewyearsago face in the frame. I walked back into the wet room and tried to find him. I searched through black coats, veils, crowded chair legs, dirty plates, wine bottles. I wanted to see his nowinthisplace face. The stubbly but boyish face I saw just the week before. He wasn’t there. All of these slobbery faces in his house and he wasn’t there being slobberyfaced with them.
I dropped. I shined.
His mother, his brothers, his sister. They left me there. They slept on motel beds while I sat in their house on the kitchen floor for a week. The only wet face left. I found out later that they tried to take me home. I said I didn’t have one anymore. They said their consoling words bounced off of me so quickly they could’ve broken windows. My fingers were rubbed raw from holding the picture frame. I wanted to see his face. I needed to see his face. That afewyearsago face that I saw first. That didn’t worry them. It was the can that worried them. I found an empty can on the floor. Sweet Peas tin can. The lid in tact but bent back.
I was infatuated with it’s emptiness. It’s ability to stay together with nothing inside. The contents poured into a pot with butter and pepper and eaten. It would never be full again. I could’ve put more peas inside but it wouldn’t be the same. The can didn’t feel its emptiness. It held its shape while I slumped. I bent. I ached. I could be full again but I longed for this can’s comfortable emptiness. Its unwitting cavity of air particles and mold spores. It was beautiful. It was shiny and dull and smooth and scratched. I was madly in love. I was mad.