Meeker

The worst thing about being dead is that people will insist on saying things about you. They don’t come and ask. They just assume. Twenty minutes with a ouija board and I could set the record straight.  But do any of them bother? They know what they want to say.

Look, I’m not blaming my mother. I’m happy they want to protect her. She was young when she had me – eighteen. It was young even then, back in the ’50s, and it’s even younger now.

Maybe I didn’t get as much attention as other children. How could I have? My mother was America’s sweetheart. She loved everyone. They didn’t give her a choice. My dad walked out when I was five, and she had to work to support us. She didn’t want to be adored; it was our livelihood.

So I suppose when I saw her movie, the one where her son drowned, that was the first time I really knew how much she loved me. There I am, twenty-four and sitting in a movie theatre, watching her mourning for her dead son, and I thought: that must be me. Those must be her feelings about me she’s tapping into to put them on the screen for the world to see. And for me to see.

That must be how she’d react if I died.

It was a comfort, you know? Knowing that she’d love me if I died.

But the press take everything away from us. They took my mother’s life from me, and now they’re taking my death from her. They don’t want the world to know? That’s fine. The world didn’t need to know. But my mother needed to know.

OK, so there was a hair trigger.  But I was twenty-four. I collected guns. I knew you don’t just play with guns. I know you don’t just point a shotgun at your face for no damn reason.

“Beloved son dead,” was what I wanted her to read.  And what did I get?

“Moron in face-shooting incident”.