Joey – Departed
Mom comes upstairs crying. Her tears run down her cheeks, her hands tremble as she collapses into a chair at our kitchen table.
“Joey’s dead. He died in a motorcycle accident.”
A numb silence follows. Suddenly I stand at the gas station he ran off Route 9 in Dobbs Ferry. His mother Lisa, my first cousin, stands next to me. We watch Joey ride off on his “cock rocket.” She bites her lip and creases her brow, worry showing on her usually frenetic, happy face.
“I’m scared, Frankie. One day he’s going to kill himself on that thing.”
Next, I’m in a pew at Sacred Heart Church in Suffern. Joey’s younger brother Mikey reads from the New Testament at my father’s funeral. But he chokes up, his voice breaking, his eyes soaked with tears. Joey steps up to Mikey’s side and rests his hand on his brother’s shoulder.
Then I’m outside an Italian Restaurant in White Plains. We all just finished celebrating Lisa’s surprise 50th birthday party—organized by Joey. I say goodbye to him as I gather my family for the drive home.
Could that be the last time I saw him alive?
my rain-splattered deck
Joey’s empty Suzuki
lying on its side
Photograph by Jaskirat Singh Bawa