Hour 2–Last Ride With Norm

I signed for him at a shiny table

she responded with a measured smile

transaction completed

I received a box

in a bag

the bag printed with the words “Nakamura Mortuary”

and a stylized logo of bending palm tree

a silhouette respectful yet appropriately tropical

my friend Norm in the box in the bag

ashes

wheelchair no longer required

I put him in the car

he rode shotgun as usual

seatbelt no longer required

I talked to him

I made a right to avoid traffic then a familiar street sign surprised me

I’d never seen the far end of his street

we went for a ride sightseeing on Nakoa Drive

unfamiliar faces watched us

I paused in front of his house the same but not

today the empty house was overexposed like an aging photograph

Norm would not live there now

he was gone yet with me on the passenger seat

“One last look.” I patted the box

the For Sale sign was still there

lawn still dead

the ruthless driveway now benign

“I love you, Brother” is all I could think to say

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