Friday, my sister, Reid and I took the urn and got in the car. I brought along the Kool Aid packets left in the kitchen when Bryan died. Kool Aid was one of his shameless indulgences, like box mac n' cheese and tacky classic rock songs on the radio. When he died, I couldn't bring myself to part with those packets. At each stop we would scatter a little bit of the ashes with a packet of Kool Aid.
no. 1: Augusta
Bryan's family moved off Augusta and out of Flint years ago, after his father's remarriage. Through high school it was the place we gathered. Bryan and Reid and a shifting crew of others playing music in the basement, Parry and I on the steps. Bryan's eternally messy bedroom with the kitsch bird wallpaper and the posters of John Lennon and Bob Marley. Chance, the family's fat, asthmatic Maltese ever wheezing on the sofa. I had my first kiss in that house. My first "I love you."
The new owner kindly listened to us explain and gave us permission. We sprinkled the ashes (and Kool Aid) in the backyard.
no. 2: Doyle Ryder
Through grief, I've enjoyed those moments I get to learn something about Bryan: memories I don't have, moments in Bryan's history I wasn't there. I like being given things to imagine.
no. 3: Flint Farmers' Market
Lunch break: Halo Burger, Saginaw Street.
no. 4: Montclair
Bryan passed away here, and for me, at least, it seemed appropriate. I met Bryan through Parry; I saw him the last time here. The circle of our brief years together closed in.
By the end of the day the ashes were less scary. Familiar now, comfortable. Scattered over stories, two of my favorite people laughing and remembering how good Bryan was to know. How good he was to grow up with.
I feel prepared to handle this alone.