I couldn’t find the obituary and I tried. I knew it was a long shot, the event happened in 1994 and the internet has ruined my patience. Nothing dates that far back: no scanned articles, record of newspaper or old newscasts. They were on TV. Of course, I knew the address, so I tried. I had read the paper before as a child and felt those names. A report of their death existed somewhere. Things like this can make me mad; not angry, insane. I’ve torn apart my room looking for a necklace I didn’t even mean to wear that day just because I hadn’t seen it in awhile, balled my eyes out over a missing flip flop when I was five and my aunt had to grab me from the water’s edge as as the storm rolled in; black and electric on the bay and me, sobbing over the loss of plastic, being carried from the crest of a wave ungraciously. It had a yellow bow. I still remember it. Threw a fit over another pair of sandals years later that I let my cousin borrow at the barbeque. My aunt tried to manage this temper but she was drunk, not twelve, not still at the helm of children, their cruelty.
“They were name brand.”
“And what does that mean to you?”
She flicked the ashes of her cigarette on the top of the Busch can. This habit I would crave and perfect years later. Her slender tanned fingers, graceful, and accurate: almost always getting the ash inside of the can.
“We don’t need ashtrays!”
Poverty was genius. You don’t need anything. Ash anywhere. Ask me how I ruined apartments. You can ash anywhere even if you’re broke.
“They mattered. Cost money.”
I was ashamed at my greed and too young to articulate meaning with impact. You can’t tell your family you’re being bullied when they once watched you pull a child from the swing set to get her to stop and listen to you. When they tried to send you to counseling about making friends, when you have lots of friends, when you spend lots of time alone too, when you are adored and feared and tremulous and screaming at the top of your lungs over a lost shoe. You can’t talk when you’re twelve or ten or eight or six or thirty-four.
“They’re just shoes.”
Just this week, I lost a velcro cuff and handmade wooden cane.
“They’re just things.”
I threw away the only two letters my father ever wrote me but I will mourn the shrinking of a sweater for over three hours which is an hour or two longer than normal.
“I don’t feel anything,” I say.
That’s a lie. All I feel is want.
- a lack or deficiency of something.
“Victorian houses which are in want of repair”
I give up on the obituary but am sure that I have narrowed a few things: Dana, the little girl that has been following me or Dana, the very troubled man that has been following me.
“Your name is Dana.”
I rest my head on the enamel of the tub, let the magnesium soak. A prescription of rest all winter and guessing, noting, then the quick fall into cavern. Repeat the deep well daydream over and over. I repeat it even though it’s yours.
“I want everything.”
My cheek hits the side and I feel a spasm leave my thigh. But what do you want, Catarina?
“I want nothing.”
Turn my neck to the other side.
“I fear nothing.”
Watch my body form an S shape in the tub.
“I crave nothing.”
Let my body settle into the form and feel a spasm leave my spine.
2. a desire for something.
“the expression of our wants and desires”
“The act of naming things”