Yesterday, for the first time, I shot a gun. I aimed, fired straight, but overreached, missing the tin can by inches. After, my arm hurt from the rifle’s kickback. I wish my arm still hurt. I wish I had shot more, had hit the target even once.
My lifelong friend had no idea I possessed any interest in shooting; I hate violence. Yet I loved shooting that rifle, aiming for a target and hoping to hit. Just like I love archery, firing that bow and trying for the red eye. I want to go to a shooting range. Right now. I want to riddle holes in hard things that can’t hurt. Instead I’m here, bang, bang.
Maybe my writing is me firing holes in things.
My lifelong friend joked I think I’m one of Charlie’s Angels.
Oh to be young again. Hot. To be a weapon this time around: aiming, firing, hitting what and where I want. To know my rights (be they listed on gunlawsuits.org/gun-laws/south-carolina/concealed-carry/ or elsewhere) absolutely. To stand solid inside me. To dare you to mess with me.
Anger is a textbook stage of grief. I thought the anger was aimed at death. Thought I was supposed to feel angry at death for taking Mam and Dad, and so close together, and so cruelly. Thought I was supposed to feel angry at my dad for dying, and at my mother for dying three months before him.
Stupid that I’d feel that kind of anger.
Maybe no more stupid, though, than my feeling angry at not being a Charlie’s Angel.
Angry at friends I haven’t heard from since Mam died. Since Dad died. Since Mam and Dad died.
Or friends that meet me and say nothing. Pretend. What’s there to say, I know. But try. Please.
I’m even angry at nothing to say. At pretend. At not trying.
We have nothing to say to the grieving. Bang, bang.
No more stupid than my feeling angry at 3 of the maybe 15 ICU nurses who took care of Dad over 24 days before he was moved to a private room for 20 more days of dying and with a different lineup of nurses.
The worst ICU nurse, her name is Pauline. Pauline, at the top of her voice, complained about the stink of Dad’s bowel bag while she sprayed green fecal odor neutralizer and batted her hands, like Dad’s stink was something she could beat down and drown. Pauline, as Dad lay dying, stood at the opposite side of his bed and spoke to me over his paralyzed body, telling me how years back the cousin of a mutual friend had committed suicide. Very sad, she stage-whispered. Pauline then shouted at Dad with violent good humor, saying how sunny it burned outside, how she wanted to take Dad down to the river, to picnic with her, on salty ham and tomato sandwiches. “Will you come with me, Ed?”
Dad’s name was Ned. We told the nurses and doctors over and over. They couldn’t get it.
I’m angry at couldn’t get it.
The less worst ICU nurse also shouted at Dad, like he was deaf and not dying, saying she wanted to take him home with her, because her dad was dead. Said she knew he wanted water, but he wasn’t getting any water, ha, ha.
I’m angry at ha, ha. I want to shoot ha, ha. Cleave ha, ha with an arrow.
The less-less worst ICU nurse said she doubted Dad knew we were there, even as Dad smiled, as he squeezed our hands, nodded yes and shook his head no.
I’m angry at me for not speaking up for Dad and telling off those 3 nurses. At me for not putting a sign over Dad’s hospital bed in huge purple Sharpie saying, My Name is Ned.
Bang, bang Edward, Ed, Eddie.
I’m angry at me. At writing. At me for writing, for not writing, for not writing when it matters, for not writing what matters, for not writing better, for not writing best.
For not knowing who or what I am anymore. For not knowing ever.
I’m angry at me.
I’m angry at angry at me bang, bang.