Fuck the Sideways Cunt of Callas

Song of the moment: Wait a While Sissel Kyrkjebö

The internet is really a fascinating place. Today, I used it to find news articles related to my grandfather’s death. And from them, I learned more than I could ever drag out of my father of the circumstances surrounding his father’s death.

The day after I celebrated my first birthday, my grandfather, Francis, died. His plane was shot down in Africa. This is as much as I knew before today. I’ve heard many wonderful tales about his life, but his death was a subject no one wanted to touch. Even when my father went to Africa himself on a job, which caused his mother to stop speaking to him and helped heal some of his old wounds, I still couldn’t get him to talk.

Cue Google.

My grandfather was on contract (from the same company my father also used to work for) in Africa, on a team sent over to spray for insects in the Western Sahara. On December 8, 1988, they had finished their job in Senegal and were heading over to Morocco when their plane was destroyed by missiles launched by the Polisario Front, a rebel movement working to liberate the Western Sahara from Morocco.

Ironically enough, the missiles used to take down my grandfather’s plane were SAM-6 surface-to-air missiles.

By December 10, the FBI had launched an investigation into the attack. It was later concluded the attack was an accident and not a terrorist strike.

By December 16, the bodies of the five crew members, along with nearly 100 pieces of personal effects, had been brought to the US Embassy in Algiers by Polisario members of the Red Crescent Society, including president Habiballah Mohamed.

By December 20, the bodies of the crew were sent to the US Air Force base in Torrejon, Spain for forensic examination. Eventually, the bodies made it back to the States and their grieving loved ones.

But wait. There’s more.

Apparently, the families of the crew members then sued the US government for injuries under the Federal Torts Claim Act. The courts dismissed it because the FTCA does not include US liability for claims arising in a foreign country, despite the families’ protest that this was a headquarters claim and not a foreign country claim. The families then appealed the dismissal, but the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the initial decision.

My grandmother is exactly the type of person who would sue the government, by the by.

Anyway, that’s the story of my grandfather’s death. He’s buried in the Cody cemetery, and I visit his grave every year. While reading into this was really interesting, it was also depressing. I always hear about what an amazing person he was (my dad was really close to his father), but I never got the chance to meet him (being a baby doesn’t count).

So it goes.

***

I’ve been listening to a lot of opera lately. I’m not entirely sure why, but it’s seemed to fit the mood I’m in. In doing so, I have remembered my bizarre soft spot for Anna Netrebko. Even though she’s Russian.

Oh, who am I kidding? I gave in to the weird pull Russia and its damn language have had on my life ages ago. Since freshman year, when Leftwich would be mumbling Russian under his breath after we’d all get together to watch Firefly, I’ve been pulled deeper and deeper into this vortex of vodka and Cyrillic.

It’s hard to hate a language that’s so interesting to listen to. Harder still to hate one that’s even more fun to vocalize. And it’s impossible to hate a language if it’s been used to tell you you’re beautiful. Even if the other party didn’t really mean it.

***

On the whole, I’ve been in a funk all day (which was sad, since today seemed so promising, what with the rain and all). One of those times where you’re feeling down and just want to hear a friendly voice, you know?

But when I picked up my phone to call someone, I was paralyzed by the knowledge that I didn’t know who to call. Not too long ago, I could have dialed up a number of people with ease. But not anymore. And not necessarily because they don’t want to talk to me, but because I have lost the desire to talk to them. Which is pretty evident from that fact that we don’t communicate at all anymore.

With distance has come perspective, and the friendships I maintained while in EL have fallen into disrepair now that I have no real need to maintain them. Which goes to show they weren’t as important to me as I thought they were. I guess they were mostly convenient. Because if you really care about someone, you’ll keep trying. And if you stop trying… whatever you used to have has vanished. Or wasn’t really there at all.

Squeaks used to be my best friend. Now? Now we barely talk. He suggested we Skype the other night, and I was actually glad for the honest excuse I had (my internet connection sucks balls) to say no, because I found I didn’t really have anything I wanted to say to him. I’ve stopped talking to pretty much everyone.

I find my closest friendship is that strange, mostly one-sided one I thought had died a while ago. And it’s kind of sad to say that’s my strongest relationship with someone outside my family, seeing as we don’t usually say anything of real import when we talk. Which isn’t that often but is still of greater frequency than my communication with anyone else.

And, as fucked up and strange as this is, it’s this friendship (I consider it so on my side, though I doubt he does on his, but I find that’s okay) that I actually don’t want to lose. The one I keep trying with. And when I held my phone in my hand, it was his number I wanted to call.

It was an odd revelation.

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