There weren’t many other people at the dock with me. John was a carpenter and Addler was a tourist from Alfonisia. By twelve O’Clock we had all boarded the ferry. There was a short of announcement welcoming us aboard which were recorded, that much was obvious by the cheery tone of the voice. One of the lifts, the one nearest to where I parked my car, was broken, and so I had to climb up the stairs. It was an old ferry, not decrepit but not new either, everything looked worn out – the carpets, the chairs etc… there weren’t any crew members on sight, and the advertising and PR all seemed out of date by ten years, back during the boom days. At any rate we sailed off the coast of Rostansia without a hitch as expected. I suppose this is where narratively speaking I should be meeting some interesting character but no such thing happened and the journey came to an end in just as an unmemorable a way as it began. It was a boring and sterile journey but at least it was always punctual, or at least the times I have done it. Without any delay I drove down the main motorway. I am too absent minded to drive so I let the car drive itself.
I looked for the news on my phone – more to entertain myself than to inform myself. I had long given up placing any personal feelings in the outcome of things I could not affect, now it was just a matter of satisfying my curiosity. It didn’t take much long to find something that would outrage me to the point it was enjoyable. Although I see no point in even bringing up what the news article was about. When I looked infront again the car was taking a turn to the left out of the motorway. Suddenly it dawned on me that what I was here for was funeral. It’s always so easy for me to be distracted by the news. Although any sentimental thoughts had long vanished the plane of my consciousness, again, because – what would it change? It was still an odd thing that I still had no idea how to act when I will meet my brother and my sister and worst of all when I’ll meet my mother. I was never that close to father but neither was I that far either – I didn’t have any strong feelings for him either way (Insert some joke about the Humour of Moderation). We did talk a bit from time to time, nothing personal, just the usual pleasantries and practical matters. I didn’t expect him to die but I was prepared for the possibility in as far as one can be for such things– though to be frank it didn’t bother it as much as I would have liked for it to when I was told about it by my brother, Jack. I distracted myself with some factoid about how in some cultures people wear white clothes at funerals instead of black ones. The car parked itself in its designated area, well I had to shift it a bit, these things weren’t perfect yet although I am surprised that we have them at all, when I was a young man these things seemed so far away – oh there I go again chasing some random line of thought.
My mother greeted me with open arms and I embraced her and muttered a few lines of greetings with a subdued tone of voice avoiding eye contact and the subject at hand – I didn’t want to be the one to bring it up. There was a small cue of mostly old people. I bowed myself out of the company of my mother and headed for that cue, I quickly reached the front and there he was, my father, or perhaps I should say his corpse in a suit as I had never seeing him lying in a wooden coffin. I quickly pretended to say a quick prayer with my head down and slowly but not too slowly walked away. I was glad that my brother volunteered to give the small speech – there was nothing that was not a platitude that I could say. My father lived a very unhealthy lifestyle towards the end of his life, I guess I should take a clue from him and abstain from my existence entirely sustained on coffee and junk food. Some things happened of a religious manner that I am not bothered to recount and then my father’s remains were buried in the same cemetery as grandpa and grandma, not too far away from theirs in fact. Jack told me that he heard some voices complaining about my absence during the ‘immediate aftermath’(to use a phrase used in the news) of my fathers death, my brother then attempted to wash away my sins by citing my busy work, I said nothing. Those voices were right, I simply couldn’t be bothered, it wasn’t as if I was any busier than usual, I could have come but I still didn’t feel any guilt about the matter and was glad that it was over and done with, to my credit if such a thing were to happen to me I didn’t expect others to rush to see my carcass either, not to be edgy, but all of this felt like some comedic meaningless ceremony out of Gulliver’s Travels. I didn’t voice any of these opinions of course and instead acted like Gulliver would have, or in other words I played along because – why bother making a scene? If it makes them feel better I will play along.
There was a beach nearby, well if you are on the island of Alfonsia you are never too far away from the beach, but this one was a particularly uncrowded one, so I headed there. It was evening but the temperature during the day was 38 degrees celsius so I figured the water would not be too cold and I was right. I swam a bit farther then I was comfortable with, people have been known to be taken and drowned away by the sudden currents in these calm seas, but any way I swam back much closer to the coast and looked up – now there is nothing about the night sky that I could say that would not be cliché but suffice to say it was purple, there were an aeroplane’s flickering varied coloured lights moving across my vision and two black moons. Unfortunately none of this was going to tell me anything about what I should do although if it did give me a clue about what I should do then I would be whinning about how it takes away my ability to decide which action is the right one. Useless! Useless! Just as I was drowning myself in self-pity while being intoxicated by self-righteousness(or is it the other way around) my phone started ringing. It was one of those waterproof models(Although I didn’t know if it was resistant to the sweet sea water). Oh shit it was that ringtone which means it was my wife, it was too late I had already answered it by the time I had realized it was her. I could have saved myself so much grief if I wasn’t so absent minded. I met her when I was studying law at Fauxbridge, well actually I met her when I was gone out in a drunken stupor at a Wapanese convention near Downtown Abbey but lets not fuss over the details lest we find the devil in them. I have never been good with puns but that hasn’t stopped me from using them.
‘Hello, it is me.” She said.
‘Are you listening to me.’ I knew her well enough to know that that wasn’t a question but anyway I answered:
‘Do you know what that swine, that sister of yours has been saying about me! How dare you mingle with that family… after all that!?’
Chirst! It couldn’t be any more obvious that technology has gone too far when a man can’t get away from his wife’s badgering after traveling two thousand miles away!
‘Answer to me! I know you are still there!’
Impervious to reason as she was perhaps it was only polite to to answer her pleas with the obvious.
‘This has got nothing to do with Helen’ I said. ‘And everything to do with my father. And you know this as well as I do. I have broken all contact with my sister’s family for you and I haven’t spoken a single word to her since I came here.’
‘How dare you say that you did for my sake as if that were a burden… The things she said about me… And you are there!’
Useless! Meaningless! Well whoever the hell is watching if anyone is of course, can’t say I didn’t try. ‘And then there is the little factoid that there is more than a little truth in those rumours spread by my sister, Helen.’ I only said that in my mind of course, I am not one to add fuel to fire. Although it would give me the temporary satisfaction of having verbally bested her this would only last very shortly as she would be sure to reply with innuendo and threats of divorce – marriage is a joke these days, I know, but my property and my money aren’t. I have always voted cuckservative my whole life.
‘Look, I am sorry about this, let’s talk about this later, my father is dead and –‘
‘We both know you didn’t care about him.’ Ouch she got me there. ‘Just like you don’t care about anything or anyone in particular!’
Well, half of what she said was right so I will let her have it. I just wanted a way to end this conversation.
‘Anyway this isn’t about Helen and her lies about you and even if I didn’t particularly care about father you must know how in grief my mother is please don’t be a reason to further that.’
‘No this has everything to do with that woman. The reason that you went to the funeral of a man you didn’t care about is so that you could spite me!’
Hold on didn’t she just say that I don’t care about anyone or anything in particular if that is the case then why would I be bothered to stir a shit storm to spite her? Oh well, a broken clock is still wrong 1438 times a day.
‘Listen to me-’ she started and right then the battery of my phone died. Thank goodness technology hasn’t reached a point where you can always rely on the batteries of those West Korean phones.
After my little swim I drove back to my parents house in the dead of the night. Just as I was about to turn away from my car I heard a voice.
‘So she was fine with you coming here despite me being here.’ It was Helen.
‘Yeah right.’ I replied.
‘You know that she –‘ I raised my hand to stop her.
‘I just had a swim and I am feeling cold so let’s not talk about this now.’ I said as I turned around to face her voice.
‘Don’t worry, this is the last time I will ever talk to you about this, it’s your life George, but why are you still with that for a lack of a better term, whor-’
‘For my children.’
‘But couldn’t you keep them?’
‘I spend most of my time working, I don’t think that I stand a chance.’
‘And then you wouldn’t want to part ways with half of your stuff.’
‘Yes and then there’s that too.’ Half of the stuff I have earned I might add but I was not generally in the mood for an argument tonight.
‘So how is Wesley?’ I tried to change the subject.
‘That sure wasn’t exactly a subtle attempt at changing the topic, George, you aren’t half as clever as you think you are, but you are right, it’s none of my business’ she said.
‘Then why did you bring it up?’ Said my face in so far as it could speak without actually speaking but fortunately there wasn’t enough light for her to see this.
‘Since you asked, although I doubt you want to know, Wesly is doing his finals to go to university next month.’
He is doing them again? Oh well did I accidently step onto a landmine? Oh father if you are up there please stop this, it’s not like I hated you or wronged you or mother.
‘What about your chicks?Wait… What were their names? What are they up to?’
She doesn’t even pretend… Or is it on purpose? Or both? Oh well I know the answer to that after all she is still my sister or should I say ‘After all I am her brother’? or both? The third answer is my final answer. Well, lets give her what she wants which after all also happens to be what I want (Read: Entertainment).
‘Well lets see… Mary is fucking that foreign drug dealer with questionable mental health, Isabella is part of some left-wing cult at her campus but she will hopefully grow out of it once she has to work and Emily is a NEET wasting away her youth watching soppy West Korean dramas, Wapanese cartoons and dating simulators while spending her days alone. And that my dear sister is what my little ‘chicks’ are doing.’
‘Thank you.’ Helen says as she cracks into a mocking laughter. ‘Your candid responses are always a breath of fresh air if a bit cringy George.’ And then she left.
Well actually Mary is engaged to the son of a businessman I know very well. Isabella is a studying a STEM degree away from the ideologues in the not only worthless but actually harmful humanities and Emily is… into a lot of weird stuff but is otherwise a kind and happy child. But if this entertains Helen and makes her feel better about her loser son… what’s the harm? Some how I feel that this lie will come back to bite me in the ass at a later date however I will not regret this until then.
Edit: If you want me to write a ‘Part 2’ for this story leave a comment in the comment section because I don’t want to write a story that at least a single person won’t read, or in other words I am willing to write as long as a single person (other than me) reads what I write.
Note: The opinions of the characters are not necessarily my own.