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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Year



1998 was the year that changed Laura’s life. If you had asked her back then, she would have laughed and said, “Got change for a five? That’s all the change I’ve seen lately.” From a personal, intimate standpoint, which is where most people look for transformative events, this was as true as the day is long. However, in the grand scheme of things, that was the year she learned about death. Not death as abstract, philosophical posturing, not the death of a grandparent or celebrity, but death in a more referential vein.

Had she paid attention to such behavior, Laura could have vouched for having acknowledged, though not mourned, the passing that year of, for instance, Linda McCartney. In Laura’s limited experience, she became the living –or rather, dying- proof that death existed for the rich and famous as well as for the poor and unknown. She was vaguely annoyed by Charlie Parker’s departure, as she had only recently discovered his true genius, and this same devotion made her feel indifferent to the loss of Frank Sinatra. Similar but opposing sentiments were true for Ted Hughes (whom she blamed for Silvia Plath’s via crucis, justifiably or not) and her beloved Octavio Paz.

Frivolous as these brief, unemotional bouts of mourning were, they were held up for review when news of Joe Cooper’s death reached Laura. Barely classifiable as a friend, he was at the least a contemporary, and she had expounded more than one opinion in his presence. They had also shared more than one summer morning at the municipal pool with a cadre of offspring in their offhanded, slightly irresponsible care. So at Joe’s funeral, among the teary-eyed grandmothers and the slightly high colleagues, Laura learned the one lesson that would stand her in good stead when her own intimate and personal day of doom came knocking. She learned that ignorance, blissful as it was, could do nothing to stave off the inevitable. She learned what was needed to answer that door.

YEAR (noun) 3 : a calendar year specified usually by a number

14 comments:

  1. This is an interesting piece. The last three lines are my favorite ^__^

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  2. Very nice post! I agree with Draug. I love the last few lines.

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  3. I enjoyed reading this one very much. A nice tidy ending, too.

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  4. Thank you all.
    Actually, I think the last line is about all that's salvageable from this one.

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  5. Her relationship with the idea of death and her reaction to it are interesting. The blissful ignorance was my favorite part, too.

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  6. I like this piece. It's always more personal when it's someone you know, if only in a vague sort of way. I wrote about something similar for my own piece this week.

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  7. I love all the literary and musical references. An insight into the character. And I like the feel of the story, pensive. I chose Laura for my character's name as well this week. I can't say why. Thought provoking story. Very nice.

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  8. I liked the last few lines the most, because I felt like they were the realest part of the character, the meat on the bones, as it were.

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  9. Thanks guys.

    Stephanie - not sure why, but Laura is my go-to name lately. I don't actually know any Lauras, maybe that's why.

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  10. it is a different feeling when someone you've actually known, even by mere association, dies. it brings the idea of death closer to home.
    i like your use of language, though, in this piece. well done.

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  11. Love the references. Esp Ted Hughes. I kinda blame him, too. I think a lot of us do.

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  12. Thank you Renada, Trifecta. Yeah, Ted Hughes. Boo.

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