See Dick. See Dick die.

The “funeral” was a reception held by Dick’s five grown children at his house a few doors down. I arrived on time, and it was just them and me for awhile, but other people eventually began to trickle in. I ate too much; I drank too much; and my social unease probably led me to talk too much. After two hours, I figured I had done my duty, so I walked home.

Dick’s wife died two years ago. I tried to befriend him afterwards, but he showed no interest in such support as I had to offer, so I withdrew totally. Someone suggested that I still try to be there for him, just not so much, but I’m no good at striking happy mediums with people I can’t begin to understand. Dick was like my father-in-law, Earl, in that he was always polite but never present emotionally. I used to try to draw Earl out, but it was like beating my head against a wall, so I gave up. He will be here next week, and I anticipate giving little and expecting nothing because I don’t know what else to do. I met him 39 years ago, and I still don’t know who he is. Maybe he doesn’t either. I suppose that if a person smothers his emotions long enough, they eventually die. I figure that the best part of Dick probably died in childhood, so his funeral was but an anti-climax.

What I will remember best about Dick is that, after his wife died, he read magazines nearly all day everyday while sitting with his back to his picture window. I walked or biked past his house several times a day, and I made a game of trying to get by before he turned around and saw me, but I seldom could. He would wave and smile, and I would wave and smile, but I would mostly be wondering what in the hell he was doing. He spent the greater part of the last two years pretending to read but in reality turning around every few seconds to see who was on the street.

Today is gray as most days will be for the next six months, and my insides are gray too.


Crazed Nitwit said...

I hope you see some color inside and out soon!! Hugs.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons we hid out in Florida for a year was to avoid the gray days that made my life and mind an equal dead gray. I'm glad you worded it that way because I've always had a hard time expressing the feeling. From now on I can succinctly use your words.

I have the most trouble when I can't "pigeon-hole" someone. If I can't figure them out, they're in the ozone and I'm at a total loss how to relate to them.

Dick obviously had a life lacking involvement. Hopefully it wasn't present when his wife was alive.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

How sad! I think I know how you feel though.

I sure hope you find some joy and fill your insides with lots of color soon. Life is short......


Silke said...

It sounds like Dick was checked out long before he actually made his physical exit. I know people like that and it always seems like such a waste of life to me... Hope you feel less gray soon!! Silke

Reuben said...

Dear Mr. Brush,

Your post is excellent. The title and picture, the division of the paragraphs, the lines and their contents work beautifully to impress me with sadness on behalf of you, of Richard, even of Earl, and of myself. Myself, mostly of a fear, or more accurately, of a regret for a future variously described here that may someday be my present, if one can regret what has yet to pass. While I appreciate most of what you write, the observational-story-memories genre remain outstanding.

An odd suggestion that you are free to not take seriously: You should compose a post that proffers advice on any lifely subject matter you find interesting. Perhaps you could imagine that you are writing to your younger self out of a concern to set him straight, or more realistically, to your younger audience. Please do be completely confident that your experience generalizes and that your admonitions are quite gospel.

Or continue doing whatever the hell you want, of course. I intend to continue sticking around either way.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Sounds like Dick was just sitting in the "waiting room" for death to call him in for his appointment. I wonder how old the magazines were.