The Next Generation of Mourning by Richard Allen Taylor | Monday, November 06, 2017 | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor

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I have begun, like my mother before me,
to cross out names. She lived to read the obituaries
of all her friends. In my generation, the first girl
I ever kissed is dead, complications of pneumonia.

I saw the email on the way from something
important to something suddenly not, and felt
nothing, as if a high-powered bullet had passed
through me without hitting heart or head or bone.

Later: the ache as I remembered
when we were 16, in a state
of mutual crush, and rode to the lake—
that parent-approved, church-sponsored
alternative to a real beach trip
with tiki bars and carnal temptations—
and made out in the back seat of a red ’64
Chevy Impala with Ray driving and Mable
looking back now and then to wink and grin.

Soon the romance was over and we moved on,
but never forgot that date, and when
I saw her forty years later we still joked
and smiled about that ride and wondered
whatever happened to Ray and Mable.

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