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Singing in the Choir
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No one can explain to me in a way I can understand it why I can’t see you today.

They tell me that children are not allowed at evening visitors’ hours and they tell me you will be coming home soon. But I already have my coat on and have grabbed my mittens, and now tears are falling and I am saying “I have to see him tonight” between the sobs.

My parents and Gram are out the door before I know it and I am left home with a neighbor coming over to stay with me. Ruth can in no way console me. Inconsolable, that will be a word that defines me or part of me throughout my life. At 11 years old so much in my life feels like tragedy.

Mikee had a stroke last night, a bad stroke and was taken to the hospital. He’s my grandfather but we have always just called him Mikee. He’s my buddy. He takes me surf casting for striped bass and bluefish, and sometimes to the inlet fishing for flounder. Kathy, my sister, doesn’t like fishing so she doesn’t come along.

We see Mikee every day since Mom doesn’t drive he picks us up after school and then takes Gram and Mom to the A&P if they need groceries. He’ll bag for the checkers while he waits.

There is no way of knowing but somehow my feeling is so strong, no way of knowing that in the morning Gram will get a call and she will pound her fist on the dresser until it is blue and that I will never see Mikee again.

It is in church the next day when I am in the choir for a funeral mass for someone else, that I find myself saying prayers of the dead for Mikee. No one has told me yet, but somehow, I knew. It will be another hour before my father comes to my school and takes me to his car and refuses to tell me anything until the car door is shut, that I hear the news and scream the loudest scream I have ever screamed in my life.

Sometimes you can feel tragedy approaching but even sensing it, it gets to you when it happens, anyway.


Enjoyed reading this again. /And again, especially found the last sentence poignant.

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