The wake was tonight, and all the family was there. Indeed, all of several dozen families seemed to be there, as the joint was thronged and the parking lot was impassible. I dropped Yesenia off and parked a few hundred feet down on a side road, then walked back to the funeral home - crossing the four lane highway in the process. The same spot where a member of my graduating class mowed down a drunk crossing from the bar that used to be there, now a diner. I paid extra, extra special attention.
The last time I'd seen Jim's mom was back in the early Spring, I think. At any rate, it had been a few months, and I heard she'd been losing weight precipitously. Still, I wasn't prepared. I don't think anyone was, but the mood in the room was generally pretty up. Two nights before, Jim's dad had said he wanted the wake and funeral to be a party, so I bore that in mind, and I think the overall mood helped the nuclear family - the Doller clan has always been a loud and fun one, so the wake itself was loud and - if not fun, exactly, at least not the heady sadness of the previous wake I'd been to, for Fiona's dad, at the BIG TIME ITALIAN FUNERAL HOME in Brooklyn.
Of course, as always, I had to leave early. I always have to leave early. Earlier today, I got the go-ahead to do the final watercolor for the comic, and when I suggested Thursday as a deadline - a speedy but civilized three day turnaround, in other words - the creative director winced, drew a whistling breath, and said, "Well, it's - ah -pretty tight." Fine, I can take a hint. In fact, I'm taking a break from the painting right now to write this. Hopefully, I'll get the whole thing done and scanned and assembled for tomorrow. The funeral is set for 10 A.M., so if I finish up by two or three this morning, I'll still get plenty of sleep and won't be nodding off during the eulogy. That's bad form.
So, back down to the kitchen (my temporary studio) to finish up. I've hit that point I usually do, about halfway through every piece where I feel like I've hit a wall, and everything is good, but if I lay down one more brushstroke, it'll all go to Hell. Time to get over that, I think.
Tomorrow night, we'll finish up the never-ending New England story, and then I think the rest of this week will be a little light reading. It's pretty clear when these things get too prose heavy, that's not what they're supposed to be. So, some comic reviews, including the completed first Dark Tower miniseries, Berlin #13 and others, and maybe some movie and music reviews to boot. See you then.
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