My sister called last night just as we were walking out the door. We were invited to our neighbor's house for dinner. It's always an impromptu party. My sister doesn't call very often. She has her life, I have mine and we live 4 hours away from each other; but our Mother's husband had been sent home from the hospital to die. There was nothing else they could do for Mike, now that they found the cancer in his brain. Now that it had spread, after the intensive surgery for the esophogeal cancer. I answered the phone, as I suspected, Mike had died that day. I told Tate. He said he was sorry for the loss, he was genuine. He also said he'd be over at the neighbors house , he knew I would be talking to my sister for a long time.
Mike was my mothers second husband, the one after my father. I never referred to him as my stepfather; always my mother's husband. She was married to him longer than she was married to my father which I think was 19 yrs. Mike was okay, I guess. He loved Jazz music, he was an audiophile. He had 2 racks of stereo equipment which had to be tweaked monthly by a professional. Every night after dinner he would retire to his sacred chair and drink his gin(at least 1/5th), smoke his cigarettes, and listen to his music until he would stagger to his bed or simply pass out in his chair. To oblivion baby.
Tate drinks beer in the evening. Pete, neighbor Neanderthal, likes to drink Whiskey and Tequila(yechh). Tate usually says he doesn't want any of the whiskey, but he ends up drinking a few after Pete pours them for him.
Last night when I got off the phone, I went across the road. Tate was double fisting the vodka. He was wobbly and off. He kept insisting on drinking more, and more, and more. He was falling down, he was stinking drunk.
Out of character. He kept saying stuff about Mike's passing; he did it out of context and he never even met the man. They live in France my Mom and Mike, they are also not wealthy enough to send tickets for visits. In fact, my mother is blind and they are poor, or she's poor now.
Tate staggered past me towards the back porch of Pete's house. He looked at me out of the corner of his eye and I saw him. Mike was having one last booze fest. He just happened to be in Tate's body. I ran to the deck and grabbed his face in my hands and said, "Look at me. When is your birthday?"
"Day of the dead, right?" "Yes"
While looking into his eyes I had him repeat after me. I had him claim his own body and release Mike into the light. We told him he would be safe in God.
Tates body rocked backwards as if he had been pushed by strong arms on both shoulders.
He settled down. I drove him home. We prayed some more together while lying on the floor of our living room. I burned some dessert sage. We slept.
I have homework and housework and reading to do.
I am just too tired today.