Thursday, July 26, 2007


I have been told, infrequently but for years, that I have a distant cousin named Demosthenes who lives in St. Louis. I have been told that his nickname is Demo. I have been told that he has been in the fetal position for decades, ever since hearing the news that his wife and daughters burned and died in a housefire. I have been told that my cousin, M_______, whom I have met, has visited him.

M_______, now the oldest living on my father's side, is known as the Matriarch of the Family. M_______ lost her husband early on in their marriage and has never remarried. M_______ had a promising professional career but "got her life back" when she went to work for Mary Kay Cosmetics. She was never happier, they said. It was under the auspices of Mary Kay that she met success, confidence, and life-long friends.

I have often pictured their meeting--Demo and M_______. M_______ the spit-spot, efficient, effective one who had already pulled herself back up from devastation, talking to the near-lifeless body of Demo, and not bothering about it when he doesn't answer back. I even like picturing M_______ driving West to Missouri for this sole mission. A gentle mission. Just to talk to him, just because he is family.

I suppose I have seen Demo as a sort of cartoon version of himself, willfully deflated in mere self-pity instead of what must truly be a mental illness. I have never known how to wrap my mind around this story.

It's been years since anyone mentioned Demo, in fact. Probably by now he has passed away, but no one has told me. As I write this, it seems it must be fiction.



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