"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

08 June 2010

Badlands Ghost Dance

Sometimes, when meditating of my father's impending move, in my mind's eye, I see a phantasm of my mother. It's that muppet mannequin shell of meat my brother and beheld in the sickhouse room that stank of death, disease, and antiseptics. It is with a chill and growl a face this specter.

...Fucking what? Are we to leave him out there to rot? To slowly go mad out there beyond the end of the world? What else would you have us do?...

I came away from my most recent visit to the Rub' al Khali in possession of artifacts, photographs, antique books, and the knowledge that my father has apparently been dating. The scent of badlands dust lingered for days, teasing my allergies, whilst I tried to think of places to put my new acquisitions. The full implication of that other bit of knowledge still ferments within the walls of my skull.

"Well, he is a randy old man," Sabina said when I told her.

"Don't ever say that about my father again," I said.

"I'm sorry," Sabina said. "Should I say; really? That sweet bible reading, ice tea drinking old man?"

"There have been only a few times I've ever wanted to really punch a girl. In the neck." I growled. "Just thought I'd mention that."

And she giggled. Of course, my father has at least waited until my mother had been gone a few months. In recent family news, one of my southern relatives was not so classy. Yet another reason to avoid that aspect of the bloodline.

My father and I had a good day together. We grilled corn and steaks. Talked and listened to music. Watched a film and had a few cocktails. We both agreed it was enjoyable and nice to spend time together.

"Saturdays are hard for me, Son," my father said. "Everyone who's ever died on me, did it on a Saturday."

Thinking of my grandmother, my mother, and both his mother and father, it's an eerie thing to note...

He cannot wait to get moved. The loneliness and isolation chews at him like maggots in an infected wound. Perhaps the Rub' al Khali was once Kashmir, but that was before my mother took ill. Before the malignancy ate her alive. Now, the badlands is a nothing more than a void. A place of too many empty spaces.

I'll be happy once my father gets moved. It's becoming more and more obvious how good it will be for him. I also think it will be good for the rest of us in the family to put all of those ghost of the badlands behind us and close the chapter.

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