Edward James Barry Scott was my grandfather, and he died this year. I sometimes have a hard time feeling things in the moment, so while everyone else was inside the funeral home, I snuck out to indulge in a cigarette. My cousin followed me out and for the first time in years the thought, “Oh shit what if she tells my parents,” popped into my head. Instead of coming out to snitch, she asked if she could take a drag of the cigarette. I oblige, we talk, and for the first time in years I feel close to one of my cousins. After a bit we head back inside, I had to be in early as a pallbearer. A few hours later, I’m zoning out at the first Scott family reunion in years. We had just buried Poppy, and now were at an old family friend’s house. Traditional Jamaican food was made, curry goat, oxtail, sorrel, and so on. It was all amazing but I was in a state of shock. I ate, I talked to my cousins as much as I could, and then sat inside alone, slowly reverting back to that same child who hated himself. A few hours later, I’m grabbing the car keys to go for a drive to clear my head. I start speeding for a little bit, not thinking of anything besides my grandfather. Suddenly I hear sirens and see flashing red and blue lights behind me.
It has been almost two months since the funeral. For the first month I was dealing with some heavy shit, the kind of shit that takes precedent over every thought process. This past month though, I have had nothing but free time to reflect. I’ve been working at your house for a few weeks now. We’re fixing it up to sell. It feels like a goodbye to my childhood. The mango trees, the vegetables growing in the back, everything makes me think of you. We replaced the gate that you always used to open, now its automatic. There is no more smiling man ready to swing it open for us. Duke bit a neighbor yesterday, well Duke 2. I still remember going to put down the first Duke with you, I had never seen you look so sad. Duke 2 has been wandering the neighborhood in your absence, looking for someone to show him the love only my ninety something year old grandfather could. Anyway, he bit someone yesterday and the sheriffs were called on him. Thankfully they didn’t take him away, they just put him on quarantine for a little bit. I don’t know if MeeMaw knows you’re gone. I’m not sure how much she knows at all anymore. I drink Dora’s fresh mango juice and think about stealing rum from you when I was younger to mix it with. I’m sober now, and I don’t steal anymore either. I’m never going to get a chance to introduce a partner to you. I feel like understanding me is impossible without knowing the man I mirrored for years. In 2023 we lost Edward Scott, but gained Julia Scott. I hope I can make you proud Poppy.