So, it went better than expected.
It was a microcosm of this whole process- a big pile of junk hiding a few unexpected pleasures.
Eamonn was strapped to my chest like armor and deflected several harpy bombing runs, yeoman work for such a little fella.
Many more of them seemed disoriented on a battlefield missing its defining feature, confused by the sudden absence of familiar landmarks.
I did have some good conversations with people I hadn't expected to see.
Mom's basic impenetrability was on display during the testimonials, all work anecdotes, group activities and glossy generalizations.
A popular explanation among bystanders for our disaster of a relationship was we were "too much alike". It was true, but in not the way they meant.
The fatal similarity wasn't inherent to our personalities but imposed by shared disasters that exiled our humanity to deep vaults. It made it difficult for anyone to engage us and doomed our relationship with each other to robotic posturing.
Courtney has a story she tells, she was terrified of me the first two years we worked together because I didn't speak to her.
Mom could always chat, not saying anything or giving anything away, but maintaining a pleasant flow of banality. It was a habit from her work as a stylist. I spent many hours in the salon with her at various points of my childhood and I noticed people getting their hair cut like to talk, and people cutting hair are reliant on tips and want them to feel comfortable. So she got good at small talk, and at deflecting conversations away from herself.
It confused me, that someone would learn how to pretend to be interested.
It never fooled me so I didn't see the point.
Her facade was more outwardly acceptable than my steel wall, but they achieved the same result and she ended up being stuck with it. Like the old woman in Oni Baba, she couldn't pry the mask off before the credits rolled.
The foundation of my wall is still there, but I've dismantled most of it over the last few years.
It's more memorial than obstacle.