the river that flows into the sands.

admittedly, i have a very limited experience of wakes, but they seem like an awkward version of this is your life. in attendance was the man who sold us our house twenty years ago. also, my dental hygienist. i’m chalking it up to vocational bias that she looked at my teeth while saying, i haven’t seen you in so long. there were peers i haven’t seen since high school, relatives i haven’t seen since childhood, and many of my mom’s coworkers whom i didn’t even realize existed.

the room was lined with flower arrangements sent to the funeral home on our behalf. near the entranceway a video played, combining pictures of my mom and family with beach scenes lifted from postcards, minus the script reading i wish you were here or the text of footprints in the sand. i kept lifting up the dvd case and making jokes, like i’ve been trying to rent this but it’s always loaned out or hey, wasn’t this due back at blockbuster on tuesday? an easel held a large card for guests to sign. a few of the messages brought tears to my eyes.

everyone wanted to greet me, as if i was dave eggers on a book tour. i caught them up on what i’ve been doing, explaining that i technically live in greensboro, though i’m technically technically still in charlotte. i made small talk. i shook hands. i hid outside.

right now, i really, really do not want to quote from a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, but all of us know it will happen, even if most are surprised that it has taken this long, considering the events of the previous few months, not to mention the inordinate amount of recommendations i’ve been given, even if my only similarity to the author is our placement on the sexual-orientation scale.

okay, so maybe we have other commonalities, but i’m still going to resist quoting from the book because i’ve never been able to read beyond the exceedingly self-indulgent (yes, i know, pot calling kettle), insufficiently clever forty-something-page introduction. however, if any of its advocates would be willing to lend me their dog-eared copy, i’ll do my best to finish the contents and ship it back to you. in return, perhaps i can arrange a teeth cleaning.

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2 Responses to “the river that flows into the sands.”

  1. scott lefaive Says:

    there’s an interesting discussion concerning the authorship of the poem footprints at the website provided.

  2. Andrew Says:

    The book is okay. I lent my copy out six years ago and the girl I gave it to took it back to England, I assume. I think it appealed to me more at 22 or 23 than it would to me at 30. I actually appreciated the solipsism of the introduction, but thought the book got weaker as it progressed to his taking care of his brother and his attempt to get on The Real World (and whatever else happened). Probably not worth the time. I think he’s sufficiently clever. Just that being clever ain’t always enough.

    At the wake, a woman came up to me when I was watching the video. She said to me, ‘she must have loved the beach.’ I told her that I guess she probably did, but that those pictures were clearly not family photos, but more like peaceful stock images designed to maintain a mood while tying the personal images together. At this point I realized she really hadn’t intended to have a conversation about the video, so I said to her, ‘listen lady, if you didn’t want to know about the process of how these videos get done, then you shouldn’t have said anything.’ Then she said, ‘Scott, don’t you remember me? I used to clean your teeth!’ And I said, ‘Who’s Scott?’

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