The rubble or our sins

Emily: I plan to begin having children in two years.
Jon: How many children do you want?
Emily: Three. I hate being an only child, and two children doesn't feel like proper family to me.

At lunch with my cousin Emily and her parents on Saturday, she noted that her father, whose kidneys are failing, only has five or six years left to live.

He made silly faces when we posed for group photos.


All of my grandparents are long deceased. I never met two of them, and the other two…

My mother's mother lived with my nuclear family when I was a child.

One afternoon, I heard her calling for me from the bathroom we shared.

"Jon! Jon!"

I couldn't be bothered to answer, but eventually stomped toward the bathroom in a huff to discover her supine on the toilet.

That was the beginning of her end.


I only ever knew my father's father as a body atrophying on a bed. He couldn't really speak, but he was responsive – at least, early on.

He was the last of my grandparents to die.

As his oldest grandson, I should've attended his funeral, but I wanted to hand out copies of the latest edition of my high school's newspaper, which I had worked on. I told my parents that I couldn't attend because of exams.

My father asked me to write a eulogy for my grandfather, which would be placed in his coffin and buried with him.

My eulogy was the lyrics to "The Day the World Went Away" by Nine Inch Nails.


Increasingly, I dread the deaths of my parents, not so much losing them as losing safety blankets.

Mommy's death will be sadder, but if daddy dies first, I'm fucked. Who will I consult about health insurance?

What if they both die around the same time, like Dave Eggers' parents?


I've been looking at housing listings in the Pacific Northwest and getting anxious. I have never had to find housing before, let alone furnish it.

What are you doing, Jon?

I am 31 years old.

I am a child.


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