Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Floyd! Why did she name him Floyd? A name with too many consonants, no hint of assonance or history. Who ever heard of anybody named Floyd? Floyd, the Conquerer? Floyd, the Good? Professor Floyd? King Floyd? Floyd, sex symbol for the 21st century? A name to aspire to, that's what she always said.
Maybe there was an ancient explorer...or plunderer--most explorers plundered--Viking Floyd? Floyd, the Fury? Floyd, the Terrible?
It was a name to be lived into, she said. Floyd the.... or Floyd who.....but too many "inappropriate" words began with F. He'd learned that lesson well before Junior High.
Not even a family name. No great uncle Floyd beaming at his namesake, not one of those grand old fashioned names spiraling up from the 19th century. She could have named him Henry or William, even Charles, names with truly great nicknames, Harry or Will or the always popular--and sweet--Charlie. Women loved men named Charlie. What do you shorten Floyd to? Don't ask. He knew and none of it was good or strong or manly, certainly not sweet.
She never told him why and now she was gone, dead, cremated, dust to dust, ashes to a cardboard box of ashes, the one on his kitchen table with her last will and testament, to be buried at sea, it said, from a certain beach. A specific seashore. All paid for, she said. Somewhere on the Oregon coast--odd because they'd never been to Oregon. He accepted the mystery--it was so like her to be mysterious and so like him, the good son, to do as instructed. 

So he was in Oregon now, slowing at the little motel perched--the only word to describe the ramshackle building under the sagging sign MOTEL--perched on a rock overlooking the Pacific. "Destination on your right," Siri said. He pulled off the road, parked, stood and gazed at the waves crashing on the sand far below. There was a path down, but her note also said Ask permission. You can't spread ashes just anywhere. Sign said OFFICE; he went in.
An old man stood behind the desk, an old man with a tangled rug of white hair, but no beard, clean shaven, eyes blue as the ocean.  An old man with posture so notable that he heard his mother say shoulders back like the man you are.
He cradled the box of ashes in his left hand, put out his right, "Hello," he said, "My name is Floyd and my mother...." What to say? He raised the box like an offering. She had scripted the journey, but not the arrival.     
      "I'm Floyd," he said again.
"Me too," the old man said. "The name is Floyd."

© 2016 Kathleen Coskran