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Beyond Pandora

Beyond simple curiosity, this is Thinking Too Much. If you're interested in philosophy and/or wild theories, you've come to the right place.

Location: Australia

Paddling somewhere between a mad scientist and an organisational artist. Indecisive, inconsistent and often incoherent.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Day Zero (19th Feb)

After finishing the packing at 3am, I went to bed in my hollowed-out room, feeling mindless and blank.
I got up at around 9, after strange and wild dreams I can't recall, and said my goodbyes to my mother and younger brother as they went to Mum's workplace - the library.
Dad and I crammed all my gear into the car, piece by piece, and I soon realised that the car was very much smaller than my room. Fortunately, the sacrifices made were very few and insignificant: things like the toilet-paper-roll-crepe-paper-vase for the fake flowers I've accumulated from various musicals.
After a little procrastination, a shower, and an electrical problem, my sister awoke and we had our moment as well.
Then we were off - I have a photo of the 'welcome to town' sign as seen through the back window of the car.
Alone with my Dad, we probably spoke the most that we've done ever before. About the family and cooking and girls and how there aren't any good group social events anymore - like the dances they had in my grandma's generation.
We listened to Chicago and Carole King and Simon & Garfunkel, and I drifted off three times, and each time I awoke I only remained awake through the lure of food.
My butt was very quickly numb.
I was surprised at my lack of anxiety throughout the day. Wasn't this supposed to be one of the biggest challenges of my life? Wasn't I supposed to be overemotional? Where was the drama? Moving has, so far, been a big nothing. A lot of physical effort, sure, but mentally and emotionally, it was no big deal.
We arrived at my mother's parents' place in the evening, and due to my lack of foresight I had to crawl over the stash in the back of the car in order to grab a change of clothes from my suitcase.
We had a very nice curried-chicken-and-rice dish (the last well-cooked meal I'd have in a while, I suspected). About which time the awkward formality with my grandmother broke, and we were again chatting about all sorts of things.
Dad's mobile goes off with its horrible rendition of 'The Entertainer', which means that a family member is ringing. As he hangs up, I ask who it was. His brother, he tells me, but he sounds slightly displaced.
Marie (pronounced to rhyme with 'starry') is the wife of my Dad's second-oldest brother. They married when they were very young - 18 or so - and had their first of five children soon after. All of their kids are now older than me - their youngest is just short of my older brother at about 22. Two of their boys are recently married with children. Another lives in Ireland and runs a vegan restaurant. Their daughter works in the same company as my father and their youngest son lives at home.
Marie is an amazing person. She has a great sense of warmth and humour, and has had fully white hair for as long as I can remember. She always makes me feel welcome.
Last Christmas, she was taken to hospital because of a problem with her blood - low blood platelets. She had her spleen removed to try to fix the problem. Nothing seemed to be happening. She caught pnemonia, but recently recovered. Dad told me earlier in the car that she's doing really well and that her blood platelets were the highest they'd been since Christmas.
Tonight Marie suffered a massive brain haemmorhage. She isn't expected to last a day.
Dad slips out to make a few calls and suddenly we are all wearing masks and chatting away again. I think the first subject brought up was actually the weather.
I go upstairs for a while and when Dad comes up there's a bit of an 'Are you okay?' all round. I'm lured down by the offers of tea and coffee that were refused earlier, and we all sit around in our talking masks. Every now and then there'll be a silence, and we'll all stare at the floor, as if Marie's body has silently entered the room and is lying there. Every now and then we'll become one with the masks, and manage forget for a few moments before the next simple pause.
I don't know if I agree with this repression. I don't know if I wanted us to all go to seperate rooms and cry. I don't know if I want to see Marie before her body shuts down, for fear that the sight of her will swallow the memories I have.
I'll be here in Brisbane for her funeral...
Marie is the first person I've known personally that has died. I wish I would feel more than sad.
Where are my tears?
Tomorrow I move into my new home, and Marie may be leaving hers.


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