Tag Archives: sympathy

For Lenny

I’m a terrible person.  I must be.  Lenny is devastated, and I’m just twiddling my arthritic thumbs until lunch.  He’s not even crying, just sitting in the front row, staring at Alexandra’s casket.  Alexandra’s ten-thousand-dollar casket.  I think the budget for the funeral was fifteen—that’s what Millie said—and they bought their neighboring plots decades ago.  When Lenny told me how much he spent on the box, I nearly crapped my Depends.  Not to be insensitive, but that’s just impractical.  A guy like Lenny could live on that much money for months, maybe even a year.  He’s not thinking, doesn’t have any kids to think for him or talk some sense through that thick skull.

I should be sad.  Everyone who walks up to that podium starts out saying what a beautiful, kind creature she was.  Creature?  She wasn’t a bug under a microscope; she was someone’s wife.  People may just be walking sacks of meat, but they matter to other sacks of meat, like Lenny.

Thinking about meat makes me hungry—more proof that I’m a terrible person.  I don’t know why thinking about meat makes me hungry; I can’t even digest the stuff anymore.  It makes my stomach hurt so much, I think I’m crapping out my spleen. Alexandra used to make pretty fair fig bars for bridge night, before her eyes started going.  Before her memory turned into a glitching time machine and her hands tremored like it was always thirty below.

I feel bad for Lenny, I really do, but how long do I have to sit in this place to show that?  Sitting in the car like some forgotten toddler would be a welcome change over this.  At least the car seats are cushioned.  These folding chairs are bringing out every crick in my back that ever was and ever will be.  You know those metal chairs with the plastic seats so cheap that they bend under a bony ass?  They’re that kind.

My stomach keeps gurgling, but no one notices because everyone’s body has been making ugly noises for the past hour.  They should call us the Orchestra of Elderly Emissions.

I hope he doesn’t ask me to go up.  I’ll shake Lenny’s hand, share a beer or nutri-shake or whatever else our pitiful intestines can take, but I can’t talk.  Not like all these “creature” people.  I played bridge with her.  That’s it.  Millie and I went there once a week to play cards with Lenny and Alexandra, and Lenny and I only did it so we could pour a couple cold ones after while the girls gossiped about the other old folks in the home.  We never gave a crap about the game.  I’ll tell Millie we should keep going every week, keep him company.  I think he’d like that.

Everyone’s standing.  I must have missed the cue.  I hope we file straight out of here to some reception.  The non-casket money must have been enough for some finger food, too.