- Vol. 06
- Chapter 10
Goodbye, Uncle Edward
People find it so comical when I tell them that my mother’s best friend was a pig. I hate it. Edward was no joke. They find it even more hilarious when I tell them she grew up by the beach, and they would swim together every day.
“A swimming pig! Come off it…”
But it’s true. Edward was a born swimmer. Mother said she never would have perfected the butterfly stroke if not for his guidance.
Mother’s parents brought Edward home just after the ban on pets was enacted. The pollution within the city limits and the bordering towns had gotten really bad. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the municipal government cared deeply for the well-being of animals, but really they just didn’t have the resources to deal with the dog and cat corpses piling up in the streets. It was unseemly.
Mother said the banned animal list was at least ten-feet long. It was plastered all over the seaside town, so nobody could claim not to have seen it. She saw her parents laboriously pore over the list frequently, muttering to each other solemnly as they did so. She worried that perhaps she was included on the banned animal list. She couldn’t check because she hadn’t yet learned to read. Would they send her to live on a farm in the countryside, too?
Then one day, Edward was there. As it turned out, the extensive list said nothing about pigs.
Edward became an integral part of Mother’s life. He was the talk of the town. Everyone missed their pets so much that he became everyone’s pet, everyone’s best friend. He was there for every milestone: birthdays, breakups, graduations.
Goodbye, Uncle EdwardHe was by Mother's side when she took the plunge and moved to the big city. He was even the best man at Mother’s wedding. I think I get so annoyed at people’s amusement because Uncle Edward practically raised me. I wouldn’t be who I am today without his steadfast support and guidance.
I’ll never forget the day Edward died. It was the first time I saw the ocean. Honestly, I didn’t care for it. The beach was dirty and the chemical stench rancid. Mother said the water was blue when she was a child, but I’m not sure if I believe her.
People have a tendency to lie to themselves when they want very badly for something to be true.
But, I’ll admit, I had never seen Edward look more alive. He really did love the water. As soon as he stepped foot on the hardened, dark brown sand, he ran as fast as he could toward the yellow-tinged waves. He disappeared into the horizon. We never saw him again.
Mother realised he must have missed it so badly all these years. She wept. She felt responsible for keeping him away. I tried to comfort her, told her that Edward didn’t mind and would never resent her for it. He always did what was best for the family.