I was sixteen when death knocked oh so loudly on my door. A summer of fun and teenage dreams when my first cousin was diagnosed with cancer; darkness and death entered like a ghost. I felt like they were hovering there, waiting for me to let them in. Already obsessed with death and dying, meeting it first hand left me weak with vulnerability. Nobody was positive, nobody smiled. Everyone cried for days and weeks up until twenty-five days later when J died. J loved music and was a DJ and he also loved his dead mother. He loved her so much because he never met her. I suppose never knowing someone is better than knowing them. I tried to love her through the black and white photo, and I did. Everyone loved the dead. We worshiped Kay's death and her young beauty as if she were a goddess. 

  I cried when he said, I wish I knew my mom, as we sat on his bed and he played all the new eighties tracks, his milk crate boxes stacked like books in a corner. Meanwhile J's stereo blasting so no one can hear his sad voice. I could always feel his sadness, it was some kind of gift of mine. I never asked him. He blurted the truth out to me all the time, while staring at her picture. I bet she would have been a great mom. Look how beautiful she looks. 

    We presumed her to be the best mom in the entire world. I was even jealous of his dead mother. I would look at mine and think, why couldn't you be more like Kay? Then one day, I noticed a picture in my mom's wallet of Kay and her. She was my best friend, my mom said,  she was such a great person, so sweet, so kind...

    So, it's true, I told J the next day. She's everything you always wanted and couldn't have. I was only eight so I didn't know what I was really saying, but now that I think about it, it sounded profound. I made him cry. 

   So actually, I first felt death with J. The way he reacted to it. The way he loved his mom. I was envious. 

I wanted a little bit of death. When I first saw J in his coffin, I cried. Everyone was in black and lamenting the way Greeks do. Deep down though, I thought perhaps his sadness would be gone now and he would finally be meeting his mother for the first time. 


Published by Christina Strigas