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The Apathetic Kolash

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I grew up in a small, cold city just out of New Jersey, called Secaucus. Everyone I've ever known has lived here. I recently moved to get away from it all; from the closeness, the forced generalities passed along from person to person. Their arid, recurrent conversation stems from a prevalent fear of life outside of this insignificant city. This became evident when my mother, upon telling her of my plans, rushed at me with a rage I had never seen before.




James, my younger brother, and my mother cried when helping me carry out boxes. I tried to match their faces, flushed with unwanted change, but my joy transcended the feigned embitterment and they knew it. My father sat on his rusty patio chair when we loaded the car. He said nothing. He never spoke unless he felt it necessary. He was the most well-read man, yet he never talked about the many things he knew, and I almost hated him for it. We shook hands, and I got in my car. It was brimming with twenty five years worth of s***, and I was elated.



I decided to visit my grandmother before leaving the outskirts. My grandfather had just died, and, like expected, she took it worse than anyone. She incessantly relayed everything she said to him on the day he passed, and was brooding with conflicting emotions and inner turmoil. When I arrived and saw her face, tears flooded my cheeks and mouth. She looked 80 at 60. We sat down on her stained nylon furniture and she rested her limp porcelain hands on mine. When she began talking about him, my eyes dropped to the floor, my tongue became water, and I couldn’t console her. I have never been one for empathizing.


“My body is only here to carry out its basic functions now. For the rest of my life I will know that he was secretly unhappy with me,” she mumbled.

“Stop talking like that, he adored you.”

“Read this. I found it going through his old writings.”


She handed me a notebook imbrued by drips of coffee and burned with cigarettes. “It starts off wonderful, just like I remember our first years being, but over time, his resentment for me becomes apparent through his poems. I don‘t know what made him this way, so at odds with everything. It's all I can think about.”


Clipped to the first page was an old picture of the two of them. She sat on his folded legs, looking at the camera with large eyes, lips jutting upwards. My grandfather was a proud man, and I’ve always wondered what he wrote about. As a child, endless suppositions filled my head, each more absurd than the last. He was so elusive yet so inviting. My hands trembled every time a new page was turned and my grandmother’s face sagged in increments as I read aloud.




On the last page, scribbled and dated on the day of his death, was this:


March 21st, 2007


The Apathetic Kolash


some write
to escape reality
I wrote
when there was none left


some write
to get sympathy
I wrote
to avoid it



some live
to find love and pain alike
I lived
to eat their leftovers


some die
to be joined; maker and servant
I died
to be alone with empty thoughts




and now I rot under
the loveless, hapless fools





All I thought about on the drive to Chicago was his last poem, and how my mother would eventually carry that same vacant stare.




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StRoseCrusader said...
Jan. 23, 2010 at 11:50 am:
I, too, want to know what made him despise her so. What did she do that made him not love her the way she did? I'm curious as to how he died - why he decided to stop being. Wasn't there anything he felt passionate for?
 
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