Apparently it happened during the “Commish”. I had never watched the “Commish”, but the name of the program will be forever etched on my mind, because my sister repeated the story time after time, as though by the retelling she may either have been able to change the outcome or at least make sense of what had happened.
She had been living with this fella for a time, the details are fuzzy now, but I would guess about a year and a half. He seemed a quiet kind of man that had been beat up by life and had resolved to just hide at home as much as possible. He was nice to my sister and she needed the company, so I was happy that he was living with her.
When she called me to tell me that he had died, suddenly, on their sofa, there was no emotion in her voice. She had managed to transport herself to that safe place where emotions can’t enter and she was shielded from the pain of watching her lover die before the medics arrived.
Now we were on the way to the funeral. I lived about an hour from my sister’s place and the main road between us was a divided highway. In this part of the country, the speed limit of 100 km (60 miles) per hour was more of a suggestion and the average speed was around 120 km/hour (70 miles/hr). Bob usually drove faster than this and would stay in the left lane (which is supposed to be for the faster traffic) during any of our highway travels.
Earlier that day, I had explained to him that I wanted to arrive a little early. That way, I could console my sister, have some time alone with her and make sure she was alright before the service. My hope was that I could then slip away immediately after the funeral instead of staying around when she would be busy speaking to everybody.
Bob knew this. He delayed our departure significantly. He always had excuses and reasons. I’m sure that he felt that the four hour delay in completing any task that he had to do would be unacceptable. Everyone knew how important he was…
Once we were on the highway, it got worse. He pulled into the right hand lane and did 100 km/hour, or less, the entire drive. I could feel my anger crawling up the back of my throat. I tried to encourage him to go faster and he made excuses. I was worried about my sister and how our lateness would impact her. I was frustrated and felt powerless.
Then, he decided to stop (which he never does) to get coffees and drinks. The girls were ecstatic because they never got to stop like this unless the trip was hours and hours long. So, I could not complain about this unexpected and certainly unprecedented stop on the highway.
We arrived late. The entire service had been delayed awaiting our arrival and my sister had decided to start when some of the guests had started to become impatient and let her know that they were going to have to leave.
Of course for me it meant that I arrived furious. I was so upset that it was difficult to calm myself down. This was one in a long string of events meant to make me look bad. Showing up at a funeral late and furious… He knew that it would be difficult to compose myself completely and yes, he had won again.