On the day of my grandfather’s funeral, my brother and I got in a street race… kind of.
We called him Bobby — my granddad on my mother’s side. He was a great man. He died when he was 82, and I was 15. That means my brother was 17. I remember it clearly for many reasons, including the event below, and also because it was my first (and so far, only) close family death. I have been lucky in that respect of my life.
As a warning, this story is not as humorous as my others, as you might already see, but don’t worry, I’m not recounting all the somber details.
Bobby was cremated. In actuality, the funeral had already happened and it was a powerfully sad gathering. Following it, I believe on a different day altogether, Bobby’s ashes were stored in a columbarium. My brother Lucas, myself, my aunts and uncles were all present for the less formal, shorter proceeding in the cemetery. My brother drove the two of us separately, so when the actual storing of the ashes was done, we could depart early from the lingering in the courtyard.
A couple blocks from the cemetery, at a major intersection red light, Lucas and I pulled up beside a worn Volkswagen Golf in my brother’s even more worn Subaru Outback hatchback. Lucas and I were wearing suits and ties, and we were talking about Bobby. I believe it was a Sunday morning because traffic was light, but still the red light lasted long enough for tensions to rise. As I looked to my left, past my brother in the driver seat, I could see a couple of youths, perhaps a boy and his girlfriend in the front seats of the Golf. They had a younger sibling in the back seat too. They were visibly amused by us. Presumably our clothes, or our car, or the combination. I told Lucas, and he looked over to them. They made some immature gestures — the younger sibling in the rear window was equally delinquent, making a face. My brother and I mutually decided they were shit heads, and it was known by all parties we would race off the line.
Now, as old as my brother’s Subaru may have been, it was a standard transmission while the Golf was not. Also, our fucking grandpa just died, so this was for Bobby. We raced aggressively beside the Golf through the intersection and down the hill on the other side. We were neck and neck until my brother seemingly quit the child’s play and we dropped those shits. We pulled in front of them and continued to floor it. I looked back while my brother triumphantly raised a finger in farewell. Fuck ’em.
I miss you Bobby.
B.F. Greeno, aka,
The Mourning Master