Sunday, August 11, 2002

One of the reasons I liked Mark so much was that he never teased me, not even in high school when he could have. I mean, even Morgan teased me, and he was definitely way below me in the social pecking order. So, when Mark and I were put together in our Home Ec group, of course I expected him to be a jerk, because teenaged boys just are. Especially boys who were wild like Mark and skipped class and smoked marijuana and just generally didn't behave themselves. Mark was particulary brazen about being bad--not only did he skip Home Ec class on a regular basis, he parked his Camaro in plain sight of our classroom windows so the teacher could see him sitting out there getting high.

So, a couple years later, when Shawn told me she was dating Mark Brazil, I was incredulous. "Mark? Brazil?!! Are you nuts?!" She told me he was completely reformed, he was a nice guy, settled down, dependable. Well, he was a nice guy before, we had a blast making a taco salad dinner for our final Home Ec project, but I was dubious, because, hey, he was a complete stoner. The first couple times I went out with them, I kept expecting him to say something mean to me, just because he could. And he never did. And he never had, in the twenty-one years I've known him, he was always nice. Nice to me, nice to Shawn.

This isn't how it's supposed to be. Shawn and Mark are always supposed to be there when I go home. I mean, I was supposed to spend time with them next week, it was all arranged, and it's just not possible that it's not happening. Shawn and Mark were supposed to be there when we move home in the next couple of years, and we were supposed to spend the next twenty years getting together, sitting on the porch, and discussing the alfalfa crop. We're supposed to grow old together.

I completely called my mom a liar when she called to tell me. I was telling her, "You've got the wrong person, it must be his dad," and telling her she got the name wrong. And she started reading it out of the paper to me, "Mark F. Brazil, 38, Tonasket," and even then, I was sure she was wrong. She had to be wrong. She had to be.

And I should be there right now, I really should. Shawn's my best friend, well, now my only friend, from my hometown, and how can I not be there? I tried to find a flight that would get me there and back, but couldn't. I really did try, but I couldn't make it work out. And I really, really should be there. Shawn has been there for me so many times, she really kept me from killing myself in high school, and now here I am all the way across the country, and what good is that doing us? And I hate myself for not calling last week. I meant to, and I just didn't get around to it, and now it's too late and I fucking hate myself for not calling.

I felt a little better after I finally talked to Shawn, and she pointed out that she won't need me so much at the funeral, there will be hundreds of people there. It's later she'll need me, and then I will be there. I feel like I'm just sitting here, waiting for Thursday to come so I can get home and see Shawn and the baby. I could hear Marsie fussing while we talked. Shawn said she was okay the first day, but the second day, she started fussing and saying "Da da," so that just sucks, and I don't know how Shawn can bear it. Mark can't be gone, Marsie is only nine months old, and it just isn't supposed to be this way.

Shawn seems to be holding up pretty good, she says she has to because of Marsie. She can't kill herself because then some nutcase relative would end up raising her daughter, and she can't let that happen. That was such a brutal phone call to make. The first time I called, I talked to her sister, which was a little surreal, but then I finally talked to Shawn. She says people call to say they're sorry, and then she ends up comforting them. I just...I'm trying not to think about it, what it must have been like, how horrible it must have been. She took him about a minute to die, but it felt a lot longer. She did everything she could, she's an EMT, and then they worked on him for an hour at the hospital, but they couldn't bring him back. She said she knew right away that he was gone, before the ambulance even got there, and that the worst part was that the last memory she'll ever have of him is the look of terror in his eyes.

Morgan feels awful, probably even guiltier than I do. He's trapped in Jersey until September 1, he can't quit his job until then otherwise he loses all his insurance and benefits. He's in bad shape, he is feeling maybe even guiltier than me, wondering why he didn't quit his job a month sooner, why doesn't he quit now so he can get home? He and Mark had all these plans for September after he moved back home, and now everything's different.

There probably were hundreds of people at the funeral today. Shawn's lived in Tonasket all her life, worked at Al's for 1/2 her life as a checker or store manager, and knows everyone. And everyone knows her. Plus all her relatives, and all Mark's. Plus Mark was a firefighter, so all the firefighters and ambulance and hospital people will be there. I don't think the church will be able to hold them all. My mom said she would go for me, so I feel a little better about that.

I knew it was bad when my mom called and left a message for us. She said she would keep Carl off the modem until I called back, and that means it's serious. On the other hand, it also meant that my father hadn't died because surely Carl wouldn't be playing online games if Dad had just died. It's amazing all the thoughts that can race through your head in the ten seconds between listening to a phone message and calling back.

So, mostly I'm just waiting to go home. I think I'm mostly okay, at least when I'm busy with something. We went out this evening because we'd already made arrangements and paid our money, etc., and I was okay while we were busy eating, but once the music started, my mind was free to wander, and then I was crying again. I guess it will be this way for awhile. Just when I think I'm stable, and let my mind start to work, it comes around on me and I have to pull myself together again.

I just want to go home.

No comments: