Friday, December 30, 2022

Mrs. McGillicuddy


Dear The End,

Mrs. McGillicuddy is dead.  Long may her memory live.

There are people, often even strangers, and quite by chance, who let you see the layers and depth of the pond we call our lives.  They give you glitter, and politesse, and mystery, and a wink.  And then, one day, they are gone.  The traces they leave are large and small, and everywhere.

A long ago friend of mine, a lover, really, is dying or dead already.  I am not going to check which.  I haven't seen them in ages.  I don't need or want to see them, but, oh!  That night at the Chinese restaurant with the tiger tapestry on the wall- I don't ever want that to leave my framework for understanding the world.  By the world, I mean love, I mean people, I mean meaning.

Mrs. McGillicuddy was a cousin of my Mother's: there were, um, like 75 cousins, at least, and everyone of them nearly identical to the novice and infrequent visitor.  I was a very novice and infrequent visitor, and also, very young, and so I suppose I needed entertaining?  What were the aunts, uncles, parents, and other people doing while these cousins would spin their yarns of Mrs. McGillicuddy?  I don't know, and a few questions about who or when she was have yielded nothing.  She was going to 'get you' if you didn't watch out, and she once chased me around some parked cars in the dark, shoulders hunched, with her hands out in front of her, clawing towards me.  It was a game that scared you just the right amount, like a roller coaster.  But the powerful thing was that she was a different being than my cousin: Mrs. McGillicuddy was more than just a different name for a person you know.

I wish this was more clear, this magic she made... but magic often cannot be explained, and when you try to, you get blank faces and 'that sounds awful.'  But it wasn't awful, and these liminal spaces where taboos are broken are amazingly vast, and so vertiginously free- I don't mean free like you think I do, I mean free like flying, free like falling, like jumping into the sea.  Like being one with all.

And so, then, this is Mrs. McGillicuddy's eulogy, and I am here, reading at the altar, to say a final goodbye to her, to a room full of people who somehow never even met her.