The car ride to the funeral was an agony she could barely sit through. She knew she was expected to say something, reassure Seth, hold the hand Sandy proffered. Instead, she turned and looked out the window, at the passing ocean that glittered in the sun. They were greeted at the church by Jimmy and Julie. The hug with Jimmy was almost like two strangers hugging, making her realise how far she'd come from the Kirsten of last year. Last year, she'd have wanted Sandy's support, even on matters smaller than this. Last year, she could have found words to talk the bys, no matter the subject matter. Last year, she wouldn't have told her father he was going to die alone.
She sat through the funeral with a minimum amount of tears. Seth's hand on her shoulder almost made her lose control, but she held it together somehow. Her last words to him were repeating in her head, an unsteady mantra that pounded in time to her headache. She heard Sandy, felt everyone there absorb his words. She knew how false they were, knew Sandy and her father had never been able to stand each other. He'd always been good at making a speech. Her sister followed. Always Daddy's favourite, his little girl. She read a poem Kirsten couldn't concentrate on. It was over sooner than she'd expected, and she was following the casket out the door, trying not to think of her father's body in there. Alone.
Back at their house, people were milling around, suffocating her, becoming tiring with their condolences. She'd tried to drown them out by diluting her blood with alcohol. Instead, she had Sandy trying to count her drinks, treat her like a child in front of everyone. The only person who had been allowed to treat her like a child was now resting six feet under, in a thirty thousand dollar coffin. And Sandy, of all people, trying to keep her away from the one thing that could keep her together through the wake. Sandy, who had convinced her not to go to her father and apologise, who had made her wait until it was too late and the hurt she'd inflicted could never be undone. He sent Julie after her, to hover and make polite conversation. Summer was the next diversion. She wasn't sure what she said, but she stumbled out a reply and left before her son's girlfriend could tell her how sorry she was, too. No one could be as sorry as Kirsten was, feel as guilty as she did. No one else had sent him to the grave with the memory of burning hate the last memory they had of him.
She put her glass down between listening to more people talk, decided on the bottle. It would save time filling the glass up, would bring this to an end sooner so she could wake up tomorrow and feel nothing. Sandy had talked down to her, trying to suggest a nap time. She couldn't stand him being near her anymore, couldn't bear to feel his hands on her, trying to wrestle her salvation away. He made her drop the bottle and she lashed out at him, the anger at the guilt she was feeling being his entire fault coming to the surface. She tried a retreat, was hindered by Jimmy and Julie on either side of her, and could feel the stares on her back as she left. She wanted the vodka back. She wanted this bad dream to be over. She wanted a rewind button so she could ignore Sandy and see her father straight away, take back what she said. Or so she could unsay it, stand across the counter from him, the bruises above not even coming close to comparing to the bruises underneath, and stay silent. She wanted to wake up and have none of this happen.
Jimmy drew the blinds in her and Sandy's room. Julie started manhandling her out of her funeral clothes and into pyjamas, but Kirsten resisted so much that they finally both left. She could feel traces of their pity in the air, a tangible substance, adding to her emotional burden. Kirsten curled up on her side, kicked her shoes over the edge of the bed. She could hear everyone outside, distant murmuring voices, probably talking about her, how she'd lost it. Had the boys been out there to see that? Kirsten couldn't remember, could only see blurred faces in her mind. She shut her eyes to stop the world spinning, but was tormented by a never ending loop of her father's face when she had screamed at him, at the lack of closure she would have to live with forever. She had felt so vindictive, so fed up with everything he'd put her through in the last year that she just wanted to hurt him like he'd hurt her. Make him feel the same sort of pain. Make him hate her so that it would be easier for her to hate him in return. Finding this thought sobering, Kirsten reached into her nightstand and pulled out a bottle of vodka she had hidden weeks ago.
At midnight, Sandy came to bed. He would have been supervising the cleanup, the shards of glass she dropped probably swept up by now, gone but not forgotten. She knew Sandy would hold this against her, more proof that she needed professional help, that she was an alcoholic. Kirsten had rejected this notion, had dismissed it as stupid. She didn't lack self control when she drank, she just liked to drink. She could stop at any time…
Written to the tune of Fix You by Coldplay and Getting Away with It All by James.
I think Kirsten was always seen as the perfect mother/career woman-type figure, and in this episode she just kind of morphed into an image of drunken hurt and bereavement, which I thought was just great! Snaps to Kelly Rowan for the acting. Hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on it. xx.