On People You Thought You Knew

by HelluvaGirl

Godparents are people you wish your child followed spiritually, intellectually and destiny-wise. Role models, care-givers and guides.

I don’t know what my parents were thinking when choosing me the Godfather I had – or maybe there wasn’t much of a choice in the traumatised soviet generation in terms of spiritual guidance – spirits, though, being commonly abused.

The one thing I remember from childhood about my Godfather was the complicated souvenir roller-ball pens he handmade in a prophylactorium – a soviet version of rehab slash jail. We had those pens aplenty at home. Their bright pink, green and red colours had a twisted design and a huge transparent pointed crown on the end, usually with a red rose and tiny stylised leaves inside.

There was also a pendant on a meticulously hand-crafted chain, a fake amber rounded rhombus with a black spider inside. It was one-of-a-kind statement jewellery for a four-year old me, mostly because I knew my Godfather made it as a designated gift.

When I became aware of this commonly-believed idea of people following their Godparents’ steps, I thought bitterly: there, Godfather. I broke the line of destiny, I picked myself up right on my rolling-stone path and we have nothing in common. I am free of all the spells and guides and dangerous spiritual attachments.

On my way to his funeral I realised I didn’t even ask the cause of death. I thought about cirrhosis. I thought about overpopulation on Earth and about cleaning up. About the goodness of heavy souls departing and bit by bit cleaning the slate for new generations.

I hate the farce, I’m not gonna lie. The who-cries-louder-at-the-coffin part, switched on as if it was rehearsed… I just refuse to bear it.

There were few people though. His daughter from the first marriage didn’t come.

During memorial dinner, I sat with head bent down cause lemme tellya, mother’s ice-breaker jokes is a killing application. Surprisingly, they did break the ice between two uneasy sides of relatives and there were some stories shared.

One of them caught my ear and I stopped chewing weird stuff you get only at funerals in Lithuanian province.

“The past year was really special for us”, said his stepdaughter. “He didn’t drink since last February and was really proud he quit without all the doctors and pressure. We hadn’t known him so full of light and energy, and kindness. We sort of discovered a new person and I really wish it was 10 years, not several months that he lived with us like that. It’s a great loss.”

“We don’t really know his kin”, she brushed me with her glance unaware, along with others listening. “We only know Kristina, his Goddaughter. Though we’ve never met, he spoke of her so much we’ve gotten to know everything about her.”

On the train back home I was thinking about invisible threads between people. About misapprehended relations. About spiritual guidance and its unexpected directions.