Easter is ma’s favorite holiday, but it reminds me of the time we spent huddled together with our Seelie Court in a Port-A-Potty while hiding from the cops after throwing rolls of toilet paper at churchgoers. Easter is also ma’s favorite holiday because it’s the only holiday in recorded human history that celebrates someone who (supposedly) has (or is) risen from the dead. The kitchen table is set. The bacon is burnt. The eggs are too wet, but I don’t care because ma is risen from the bed. Bobo the Mutt howls aimlessly in the backyard because he is a fact of canine history. He is also risen from the dead.
“It’s incredible,” ma says. “Truly remarkable. A man rises from the dead when most men can’t even rise out of bed. Truly, remarkable.” (I never know where to place the comma. Commas are the common enemy.)
“Ma, you rose from the dead,” I say.
“For that mimosa,” she says. “Let’s drink to that!”
We drink to that. We drink to this. Ma giggles. I laugh. I’m not of age, but it doesn’t matter because I’m not real and the cops can’t arrest magic. I’m not part of the official record of human history, anyway. I’m just a fiction unburdened by my own holiday.
“Pour me another one,” she says.
Ma is an insatiable bèbè.
It’s been 7 days since ma lost her job, or was fired, or laid off, or furloughed until better days. It hasn’t been a holiday and we’re still waiting for our Pandemic Impact Payment from the IRS. Ma has been a real hot & cold mess and her hair is falling out or off. I can’t tell if it’s the weave coming undone or her real hair or both. Ma got the chills and the shakes last night. She rattled her teeth and mumbled in Roman Numerals, which sound a lot like regular numbers, but more sophisticated. She kept repeating 21418, 21418, 21418. It was, by far, her best Glenn Close moment ever. I was terrified.
The first thing I do every morning is log onto ma’s busted up laptop from 2006 and visit the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard to see the total confirmed infections and total confirmed deaths in the United States and around the world. Every morning I visit the dashboard and hover the mouse over the county in which we live. Every morning I click on that bright red dot that reveals the total number of confirmed infections and deaths in my county. Our country is all lit. I travel from state to state, city to city, to visit the dead. It’s a morbid Easter Egg Hunt. These red dots are all I have to make some sense out of this catastrophe. Ma doesn’t make much sense. She never did.
This morning I logged on again. Total confirmed deaths in the United States: 21,418. I closed the laptop and took a bit of burnt bacon. Ma looked at me all serious and crusty-eyed because she knows I only like medium rare bacon. “21,418,” she said. I nodded my head. She didn’t waste the last sip of her mimosa before she spoke again. “Real people don’t rise from the dead,” she said. “Not even fairies like you and me.”
Ma broke her smile. Bobo the Mutt went silent. I crossed my legs. The eggs.