Psychopomp Magazine Winter 2014 - Page 21

from the kitchen and will give him one of her withering looks that will immediately make him behave. As usual, my dad will instruct Jesse to be polite and shake your hand, and this time my mom will do the guiding of hands.

“So how long have you two been dating, Lisa?” Jesse will ask in a sing-song voice before he’s shushed by my mother. I’ll tell them that it’s been almost four months.

My dad will instruct my mother to ask you when you died. Don’t feel obligated to answer. However, if you choose to, do not be surprised when my dad says under his breath, “Jesus Christ. He died before my dad was born.”

My brother will say, “Lisa, did he meet F. Scott Fitzgerald? Or Hemingway? Did he use a typewriter? Did he lose all his money in the Depression?” Jesse is a nice boy. A little hyperactive, maybe, but most thirteen-year-olds are. He’ll have read a bit about the 1920’s, and found all the most interesting people from that era and expect you to have met and befriended all of them.

If you want, I can lie and tell him that you died before you lost your money in the market crash. Not that there’s any shame in what you did, but it is entirely your business, and I would completely understand if you wanted to keep that private.

In a quiet voice, my dad will ask you what I have often asked you, expecting you to have all the answers. Maria will strain to listen while keeping her disinterested expression, and Jesse will look from me to Dad and back again. You don’t have to say anything; I can answer for you because I understand now. I understand that there doesn’t seem to be a pattern, nor rhyme or reason to it. There is no way it can be prevented or ensured. There is no explanation for why you are the way you are and why my grandfather is still firmly underground in his coffin, prosthetic foot and all.

Once all that is out of the way, we can go into the kitchen and brunch will begin.

Smoot | 17