The Time I Went to Brooklyn for Ray

I bought new shoes today. It was for Ray’s moms. She passed on over to the far side of town. What do you wear to the funeral of your friend’s mother? Can I wear brown shoes? Do I need to wear all black? What’s appropriate? What if the tie is rose colored? I wanted to ask Arthur, but I didn’t want him to question his choice as well. What is Ray gonna wear? How will he mourn her? Will he shave? Will she appreciate his beard, or lack therof?

I wonder if she loved his paintings more than his musicianship? How loudly will he play our next gig? Will she hear him? We’ll be upstairs, so maybe. Will we hug him and hold on to him after rehearsal? Will my socks match? What color pants do you wear to mourn?

I’ve seen men in jeans and Coogi sweaters with square toed shoes from Porta Bella pour half full bottles of Hennesey in the cracks of the pavement where the air falls and shells get stuck between, inhaling the scents of ghosts through parted Newport burned lips outside of Ortiz Funeral Homes many a time. Those times when death came a knocking, claiming persons close, so close the cold in their breath could be mistaken for their own…what then?

What to do with the fallen pieces forming so well now that the hole, gaping now, has reinvented itself twice over in the shape of a smile, or a touch or a word or look or back to a time with both your backs against a makeshift wall, being in each other, holding the other up with all that is left after; long after the food dries and lilies die off and slacks, pressed neat, and tears accounted for and dishes washed? You in your room, alone, eating the solace of the night. Being whatever your mother needs you to be for her now. What then? Nothing but pictures and VHS’ and slow conversations under dimming lights, counting the flickering, like firefly magnets, seeing her shade in it all.

What then?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store