In the Name of Cremation
He wants to be cremated. He tells her this. Lawrence’s mother does not understand. She also does not feel crass telling him this, passionately and with fervor. The young man smiles at his mother lovingly. Her ability to place words used by Hawthorne and junkies side by side, as if devoting the rest of their lives to each other, is a talent that only a woman of her caliber can achieve. He asks her to calm down as his palms gently shove the air the adjacent to his stomach downward. As an introduction for his explanation he reminds her of the gothic building in their neighborhood.
His mother, Laurette, had worked in this building. As a toddler he knew words like buttress, medieval, gloomy, and renaissance from the books she brought home from the now decrepit library. The blown out windows were boarded up with wooden panels and painted grey. From afar, and head-on, on overcast days the building now looked two-dimensional. As if the library were propped up by the heavens.
Today is one of those grey days, and is also responsible for Lawrence’s thoughts of death. When his mother has finished her rant on the immeasurable loss the neighborhood had undertaken because of one “cunt delinquent.” He explains slowly, pausing and breathing deeply, patiently allowing his body to digest the thoughts that are in the air around him: ”Mother, you need not know the smell of burning ink. You…you need not know the heat of enflamed shelves, or the paralyzing fear of being surrounded by smoke the color of ghastly and ghost. My cremation will be an act symbolic of the significance of what is held in our spines— mother, a dying man is like a burning library.
When profundities are exchanged there need not be any further words. This she acknowledges with a nod and a smile of proud bewilderment. The thought of her son dying becoming secondary to his ability to articulate a single soul’s value.