It’s been 5 minutes since I got home but I haven’t moved a muscle. At the end of the corridor, everybody is sitting quietly in the living room. Leaning onto the wall of the corridor, I step forward slowly. No idea Where these mourning songs coming from.
I reach the living room. It’s packed end to end, everyone sitting and wiggling. My dad is standing over there in the corner beside a man, stroking his beard. I put my hand in front of my mouth and head towards the uncle’s picture. I feel the gaze of people following me as if their hands are reaching my shirt. So, I gaze back and keep my mouth shut. Suddenly, I step over a glass vase on the ground, the fruits crack and a piece of broken glass tears my ankle open. Now the coffee table is straight over there, I fall over and break the table. My puke slides over uncle’s picture, first his war gear, then his ranks, now his smile is covered. I’m still struggling while the folded flag below the picture is getting stained with puke.
I wobble my head fast. Since I got off the car I’ve been thinking, I feel like my head is floating on water like a sponge. The honking of cars and the drips of rain takes my thoughts away from the uncle’s wake. I look closely, it feels like the whole town is gathered here in front of the house as if all the people have been brought to this street. Those inside their cars honk the horns and scepter balloons in the air. Those on the street shriek and throw papers in the cars.
I can walk straight; safer if I lean onto the wall. The sidewalk is empty, so I set off, walking fast.
Every step that I take, a ray of light, a green light, gleams of the leaves onto my eyes. It’s coming from the end of the street, near the school.
As I see several men approaching, I feel dizzy. The already blurry sight turns completely black. I cough hard as I lean onto the wall. The last cough brings everything back up to my throat, and they go back down again. They go right pass me quickly. I can see the antennas of their walkie-talkies. Surely they will notice the stink of alcohol. Turn back and look. It’s an awfully busy sight.
I can see again. I am reaching the ladies’ clothes shop. It’s filled with lights and huge speakers. Right across the street, it’s a hullabaloo. I go inside, there are tables all over. They have taken down the curtain, the heavy curtain that you could not move. They have put on pictures everywhere. A big pitcher on the table is full of orange juice. Bottoms up, I drink all of it while thinking that it’s flushing all the alcohol. I finish it in one go and I tell myself this pitcher beats the shots at the party.
I teeter-totter for a second. I feel my pulse on my head. But I can send straight. Walking out, I hear a drunk voice under the table, “Don’t forget to vote, the name and the number is written on the front door,”
I turn back to the sidewalk, amongst the long-standing crowd, and head home.
Looking from here, the green-ray of light is beaming towards a big building from which three long banners are hanging. I don’t suppose that it will come out anytime soon. The end of the street is visible though it is close. The sidewalk is crowded. Reminds me of the anniversary. This time after throwing up on the fly and uncle’s picture, my dad and my brother are going to kick me so hard so that all the toxic will get out of my system. And mom is just saying don’t hit him. And at the end, she is, dive on to the pictures of the war on the corner, where my dad takes a look at them three times a day and says, “They were high on martyrdom,”
The fact that a man’s elbow is pounding on my chest is almost making me laugh. The crowd pulled him back and he gets lost. Now I can only see the smoke coming out from the street and heading our way. These random rains tangled with the smoke. People are heading back, a couple of bikers and the truck loaded with people holding flags following them. After that on the street, they come and go. The truck gets past me and one of those who look like my theology teacher gazes at me. Before I can make a move I see all of them together stuck, shouting in my ears that the street is closed, and we have to head back and so. I look at the cars in the crowd. I hope the ceremony is over and the guests are just in the traffic. I’m sweating. The first detour I see, I tried to reach there. Take a fast turn into the dark alley. A couple of boys and girls are going to the local park. Now it’s only just five blocks from home.
My head is killing me. Just as I reach a tree far from the houses, it starts raining again. I close my eyes and think of the alcohol dripping away from my body. The way this is going I think it’s gonna take 10 minutes before it’s out of my system. Suddenly, feel that it is not a light rain on my face anymore, I’m getting wet in the rain is starting to pour and turn into hail. It’s just like when uncle died during the war. If uncle died 32 years ago like me peeing, well, good for him. Gradually I can feel the perspiration on my feet. It’s as if the alcohol is taking a detour for and is pouring out from the under and even over my pants, reaching my shoes and socks. While I feel the raindrops sliding on my body, a silly warmth is exiting through my feet. I take a step and my socks are bending on my toes in my shoes.
After a zip-up, the raining stops. I’m feeling hot again and all of my clothes are wet and stuck to my body. A gurgling noise is coming from my shoes, like hitting a bucket of sweat, a bucket of piss.
I look at the wet footprint that I left. All over the alley, the sound of running is projected. Suddenly, I see that there is all but one alley left. I think the ceremony is over so it’s just me and three days sleeping on the tarmac waiting for the evaporation of water, alcohol, and urea.
At home on the front door, the lights are on and the cars are parked, obviously, they are waiting for me to arrive and say my prayers over the picture of my uncle. I duck behind one of the cars and put my fist into my throat. While struggling to throw up, I hear the door opening. The sounds of “Goodbye, goodbye” are coming from there. Just like that on my knees, with the last deep hiccup, I empty all my stomach.