My grandmother died.
I don't believe in an afterlife of any sort, but she wiped shit off of my ass as baby so I figured I owed her something. It was this nagging memory that pulled at my guts when I told my mother I couldn't attend my grandmother's funeral in Guatemala because of my job.
It was kind of a lie since I hadn't ASKED my job for the free time to fly to Guatemala, but when I did I got permission and tons of support.
The only thing standing in the way of my trip to Guatemala was now a feeling of disgust for the country and $700. My mom said she'd pay for my ticket so now I just felt disgusted. "Bet grandma felt disgusted when she was wiping you," my inner mom said, and so it took a few clicks of the mouse and a half a bottle of whiskey for me to make the leap and get my ticket to Guatemala.
My trip was as much about pleasing my mother as it was about appeasing the ghost of my angry dead grandmother. At the airport my mother greeted me and so did my uncle twice removed. The first thing my mom tells me is "oh we're not sleeping tonight." I'm not familiar with funeral traditions but apparently a "wake" is literal, meaning we have to stay "a wake" all night to make sure they corpse isn't still alive.
Guatemalans apparently don't fuck around when it comes to burying their dead. They gotta bury those bitches before they rot because no one has money for formaldehyde. The wake was the night I landed, and the burial was the following day.
Guess how long I planned to stay for?
3 days! The third day was a courtesy. Never say I don't give back to the family.
My grandmother was in a nice coffin, a glass top was over her head so you could peer into it and see her face. She resembled mother teresa complete with wrinkles and that funky towel turban thing she would drape over her head. She looked peaceful considering how crazy violent she was before. We'd been prepared for her deaths since my mother banished her to a home in Guatemala, no one can blame her though because my grandma had Alzheimers coupled with dementia.
"Kevin does your family in Guatemala know you're gay?" A friend asked me. The question surprised me because that information has no pertinence when I'm surrounded by that savagery. Its like asking Jane Goodall if the monkeys knew she had a live-in boyfriend at home, I'm sure that was the last thing on her mind in that situation.
Yes, I did just compare my extended family to monkeys. I think I'm allowed to do that, they're my flesh and blood and I can call them anything I want, even the N-word probably.
They're actually successful people. Lawyers, doctors....I think one of them is an investment banker or something, the problem is that their lifestyle choices are terribly boring. The men are spanish good ole boys and their wives are as interchangeable as the employees of any laundromat in America.
Thank God my cousin was there. Lil sister Z. I dislocated her arm once and she almost sliced my finger off while we were growing up together in Los Angeles, ah the good ole days. We stuck to a couch together talking to each other in English so nobody would understand.
You're right to hate people who talk in another language in front of you because they are saying some nasty ass shit about you.
(to be cont.)
Thursday, July 30, 2009
My grandmother died.