Disclaimer: Though you may confuse the perfect structure and haunting rhythms of "Danny Boy" to be my own creation, you are sadly mistaken ;) "Danny Boy" does not belong to me, or anyone else that I know of, despite the Irish people. Whoops. Well then, ignore the disclaimer above. "Danny Boy"'s mine and I canna let you 'ave 'im! Later!
It doesn't feel so much like falling now. I wonder.I wonder, "Why?" Maybe the plane has miraculously healed itself. Or maybe the tooth fairy had accidentally kidnapped the engine rather than a molar and decided to return it in the knick of time. Or maybe I've become so used to this downward spiral that the only sensation I feel anymore is a nagging pit in my stomach. Or maybe I can't feel anything. I'm so numb.I sit here now in this seat like a limp rag doll, distorted and twisted in God's hands. I open my mouth to scream in anger, in pain, in fear. I open my mouth to scream, but I can't. I can't breath anymore.
"Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling,
From glen to glen and down the mountainside,
The summer's gone and all the roses falling,
It's you, it's you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow,
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow,
It's I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh, Danny Boy, I love you so, I love you so!"
I sniffed emotionally, trying me best to play me part. The soloist finished the first verse with a wail and waited for the pipes begin the second, which, personally, I always had enjoyed more than the first. I waited as well. Waited for them to finally put that bloody old witch where she belonged: beneath the ground. I sounded like a spoiled, ungrateful brat, but I wasn't, I was just a scarred, angry girl. I dreaded my grandmother, I despised my grandmother, I loathed my grandmother, but I did not hate her; after all, she was still family. Sure, I could have changed that easily enough by getting kicked out of the family, being disowned, but I never had the guts. And I never really liked the idea of jail. Therefore, she remained my grandmother until the day she died, may she rest in a somewhat peaceful manner, and she remained a painful thorn in my side until her final breath.
When she did finally kick the bucket, the doctors couldn't decide what killed her. It was the chain smoking, the cancer, a gradually closing airway while she slept, and lack of oxygen in her blood, heart disease, brain tumor, or simple old age. Or maybe it was all of them at once. No matter how much I disliked her, I was always grateful that she died peacefully in her sleep; otherwise she would have made a huge deal about it. Oh yes, her last words would have been as prophetic as Dante and as useful as the Teletubbies.
I did not like my grandmother.
"Leigh," my middle name, she always called me by my middle name. That was because I was named after my mother's mother, Marjorie, whom my father's mother hated. Oh yes, she had the hate in her, unlike me. "How many times have I told you not to call me that? When you address me, you shall address me as your 'Gram'," she replied curtly. I promptly rolled my eyes, making sure that my back was her only view of me before doing so, of course. I mimicked silently her words with a childish grotesqueness. I never said I was mature, and I suppose now I never will. Oh well.
"Dear, are you eating anything? If you are, you should stop it this instant," tactful, always so tactful my Gram was. "You are going to spoil your lunch."
At this I made one last gagging face. Lunch meant a whole half of a banana, unsalted potato chips, and maybe a sandwich with undistinguishable lunchmeat making up a meager center. I turned about to face her and smiled sweetly.
"Yes'm," I replied with an over exaggerated Southern flavor. She shuddered in horror before beginning her tirade. I have been through nearly all of the possessions in my grandparents' old mansion, but I have yet to find that speech either written out or typed up, but I know it is there. It must be there. It's got to be there. I had always though that ranting was something that came off the top of your head when you were interested in a certain topic, but to my grandmother ranting was an art. One that had to be practiced as much as possible.
"I told your father this would happen! I told him! But did he listen? No ma'am, he did not listen to his mother! When he married that lousy, wretched floozy of a woman it was a bad idea.a terrible idea, mind you. And then she convinces your father to move to Georgia-Georgia!- to start a family! I told him he would never be able to provide for his children, especially with that woman around spending everything the poor boy I was right! They couldn't even send you to a decent school until you were half way done learning, but I made sure."
She could keep going on like that for five minutes straight before it was time to down a mimosa and huff a few cigarettes before she would be back at it again. My grandmother had the talent to harp on subjects until they had been sucked dry and shriveled into submissive little piles of dust, then she would stomp on them. When I listened to her gloat over my mother's life, I truly did feel angry considered hating her, but sometimes I simply felt ashamed. If she ever ran out of criticisms for my mother, then she would start on me. I would then realize why my father left Pennsylvania for I would have suggested Alaska, maybe California; Georgia was still too close to this woman.
"Leigh, did you forget we're going to the club for dinner tonight? Well, don't just stand there, hurry up and get dressed!" she said without a second glance at me when I walked into my grandparent's master bedroom. I stood for a moment in hopeless shock before wordlessly seething at this comment. With an angry dignity, I straightened my perfectly ironed Sunday- best clothes.
"I'm ready to go," I told the back of my grandmother coldly. It was her turn to be surprised, but instead of the angry retort I had expected, a different sound came out of her vainly rouged lips. She was me.
"Don't be ridiculous, dear! You will wear the dress I gave you this morning; it's much more appropriate . Now come along, or we'll be late!"
Oh no. Bloody heck no. I may have been her granddaughter, but I still deserved the respect due to a human thing that lay rumpled on the floor of my room was unworthy for any man, or woman, to ever wear. This was where I drew the line. Besides, my grandmother had it in her mind that after the age of 10, young girls were not allowed to grow anymore, which explained why I had been receiving children's size 10 "dresses" for three years now. It did not matter to her that I had actually been shopping in the Juniors section and barely fit into a children's 16 after three years of PUBERTY.I guessed she must have forgotten what growing up was like, considering she had been on the verge of forgetting what menopause felt like. I gritted my teeth.
"I'm sorry, but Grand-uh-Gram, it doesn't really fit. It's kind of small," I addressed her back again. She didn't even turn to face me this time.
"Nonsense, dear, go put it on and let me see," was her only response. When I returned a walking checkerboard with red lace doilies cutting through my armpits and jugular she looked me over with an unblinking eye. There was a moment of perfect silence before she responded, "Have you ever thought about going on a diet, Leigh? I really think you should lose some of that extra weight."
Yes, there was a reason I did not cry at her funeral: because I had shed enough tears because of her while she had lived, she wasn't about to succeed in breaking me from the grave.
"But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying,
If I'm dead, as dead I may well be,
Ye'll come and find the place where I'm lying,
And kneel and say an 'Ave' there for me;
And I shall hear, though soft ye tread above me,
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
And I shall sleep in peace until you come back to me!"