"Ines is survived by Monica and Rena Santillo." That sounds awful.
The funeral today was surreal. It felt like Grandma should have been there, chatting, offering people more food, joking around. There were people I haven’t seen in years, and people I don’t know but who seem to know me. Maybe this is insensitive but all the pitying, the dancing around the reason we were all there, drove me nuts. After a while I just avoided everyone.
Instead I started to take photos of random things I remembered around the house. It's comforting to see things in their old places.
Oh - I did meet the next-door neighbors, the McCalls. Agnes is a few years older than I am, I think, and her twin sons are maybe around five. Agnes spoke a mile a minute and said she had been training to become a music teacher before she had the kids. She got close with my grandmother fast (who must have been thrilled to have kids around again).
Agnes mentioned the treehouse. I mean, it's not really a "treehouse", that's generous; it's just got a space you can sit in among all those gnarly roots. I asked if it was safe and she said she didn’t let the kids near it anyway. Apparently there are rumors around the neighborhood that it’s haunted! People have told her they’ve seen lights in there at night. Totally ridiculous. Honestly I’m surprised the thing hasn’t rotted and collapsed by now. Agnes is right, keeping the kids away. I said she should probably just have the whole thing taken down, and she's been trying to do something about it because she thinks it's such an eyesore and wants the yard space for something more useful, but she's torn because the boys love it and would have a fit. I mean, I loved it too when I was their age. I wonder if there's anything left in there after all these years.
Agnes asked if I was happy to be back, despite the circumstances. I guess I paused too long so she kept talking. She loves the neighborhood and the house but has a lot of things she wants to do to make sure her boys are happy and safe. I am not the maternal type but I felt a twinge of guilt. I've been so selfish lately, and look where it got me.