Posted by: stillironic | January 18, 2010

Spacetime and Black Holes

The United States Army is quick at notifying next of kin. But there is a lag between time of death and time of notification. And that lag was something Mrs. Blechman focused on to the point of obsession.

She kept wailing, even during the memorial service, that there were hours after Ray ceased to share space on this earth, ceased being a thinking, breathing, Tom Robbins-loving, rifle-carrying, soft-ball-playing, guitar-harmonizing human being that Mrs. Blechman still thought walked and talked, or hovered over rice paddies in a helicopter, as the case may have been.

Jack, who fancied himself a scientific whiz, tried to comfort her with his physics talk of spacetime and black holes. Don’t you see, he said, in some reality Ray was still alive. Mrs. Blechman got quiet. She seemed absorbed in what he was saying. Then she said to him, why do I have such an urge to slug you.

That this window of time existed when Mrs. Blechman was oblivious to the fate of her beloved elder son blew her mind, clinically speaking. Mr. Blechman on the other hand took Ray’s dying rather stoically. Though nine years later when in a fit of despair he shot himself in the head—literally blew his mind as opposed to his wife’s more figurative performance—many attributed it partially to his never having come to terms with Ray’s death. Only partially, I say, because the Shaddrach Independent’s having just exposed him for cheating his real estate partners out of huge sums of money may have constituted the major incentive.

© 2010 by Virginia Gerhart

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