The Svoboda Funeral

(It's been a long day for everyone in attendance. The gathered group of mourners filter into smaller groups or depart. My eyes fixate on the headstone of a wrestling legend. I'd seen many of the amazing things he had done from afar just as I had those of my father when I was growing up. Svoboda once faced my father in a brutal cage match. Not only that, but he won the match. Though he looked worried when he saw my father destroy the cage to get out and attack him, he still appeared to have a smile playing at the corner of his lips. That's the kind of man Piter was. He didn't care what happened to him if he managed to achieve his goals. I respeted him.

His bouts with his inner demons were the result of living hard and fast. The kind of madness that always accompanies genius. I didn't always like him or the choices he made. I just don't allow those choices to diminish my opinion of his memory. All these thoughts and I couldn't manage to form the words to speak about him. Unwanted emotions got the better of me. Emotions I never thought would shoot to the surface like that. I did not realize how his death would affect me. Well anyone's death really. I never thought I was built that way. Nothing in my background would lead anyone to that conclusion. So now here I stand alone staring at a tombstone with murky visions of a fallen hero who will jerk no more curtains. I'm torn from my thoughts as I unexpectedly feel movement next to me.

Sliding up beside me, with an ease belying his large size, is my father. I've been avoiding my parents since I rose to reclaim my humanity. I couldn't face their cold judgement. Refused to be influenced by outside forces while growing accustomed to the person I'd become. I knew I would see him here, yet I still feel unprepared for the conversation about to take place. His raspy voice claws at the air as it escapes his scarred lips.)

Nice service.

(I'm struck by how out of place his statement feels with the man that I know him to be. A service seems like the last place you would find him. He's never had any love for the church or mainstream religions. Only his respect for a dead man would bring him out to something like this. I never fully understood the relationship between him and Piter Svoboda and I suspect I never will. Like many of the things that drive my father it is too complex for me to unravel. I take a deep breath against my will that betrays my nervousness over talking to him. A moment of weakness I instantly regret even with no visible reaction from him.)


(Neither of us looks at the other. Instead we stand side by side staring at the engraved stone. Silence fills the space between us as if replacing the air. It's not that I'm avoiding reconciliation. I just don't know how. Something inherited from both parents I'm sure. We're not the most socially adept clan. I don't recall a hug or an "I love you" between any of us. When you're so disconnected from normal, human emotion how can you expect to make connections with other people? It's something I understand in theory, but not in practice. Like so many things in my existence. When you've spent most of your life watching things from a dimensional hell all you have is theory. It's a while before either of us speaks again. This time it's my turn to attempt to mend the bridge I roadblocked.)

I..I know it's been awhile since we've talked.

("Talked"? Is that what I call deciding to break all contact with two of the only people I have any connection to on the planet? When I think of it this way what I said may as well have been a lie. Downplaying what it is that I've done feels wrong. Why diminish it if I didn't feel I was wrong at the time? Do I truly fear rejection? I take a breath before turning to face him. My eyes staring into the depths of his madness.)

I know I cut off all contact with you mother. I wasn't sure you would understand why I had to.

(I know she wouldn't understand. I couldn't even mention her without a pause. For all the problems I currently have communicating with my father, my communication with her is infinitely worse. My mouth opens to form words, but I'm cut off as his hand pulls a bottle from his pocket. Old school whiskey. The kind that tastes like a smokey barrel. One of his few consumption alcohols of choice. Though we use Everclear as antiseptic we never drink it recreationally. He takes the cap off and hands me the bottle. I scrutinize him for a moment before taking a long swig.)

These thoughts aren't necessary Eclipse. There's no shame or weakness in what you've become. I don't look down on your newfound humanity. You never had a chance to experience the humanity your mother and I shed so long ago. Your existence is your own. You don't need my approval to direct it...

(He pauses for a moment before taking the bottle from my hand.)

...but I am your least give me the chance to be a part of it.

(Probably the most profound words he's ever spoken to me. It's difficult for me to fathom him having spoken them. It's just about his feelings. Not his beliefs. Not his teachings. Just his relationship with me. He takes a large swig while I begin to feel shamefully stupid for shutting him out. I won't deny the selfishness of my actions. I felt I had to though. I still have reservations over one thing though...)

What about Mother?

(My chest feels heavy immediately after mentioning her. Her lack of approval has always been difficult to deal with. Her only caring about the monster within me may always be a source of pain. He shrugs his large shoulder while passing the bottle back.)

She's....working on it. Give her time.

(More than I expected I guess. Not exactly sure what that means. I sigh and take another drink. We both turn back to towards what should be the final resting place for a legend's body. The bottle is passed back and forth as we calmly stand in silence. Now the silence out of respect for the fallen. A strong hand slowly comes to rest on my shoulder. A gesture that is not lost on me.)

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