This song seamlessly ushered in the year that Dad made me say ‘See you later’ instead of ‘Goodbye’.
Years later, my friend lay in a virgin-white casket with gold trim. An old man said a prayer as I thought about how she had never been religious.
We ate chocolate biscuits to be social in a room that smelled of obnoxious air freshener. All we wanted was to get drunk on the champagne left in her room.
We were knocked-off work, given the day to grieve. We cried in the car, in the shower – in all the private and painfully incidental places in our lives. We felt her go in an instant, sometime between brushing our teeth and lying safe in our beds that night.
My great-grandmother was not a religious woman, but the traditions were of her time. The Lord’s Prayer. The crucifix. The priest.
At my friend’s funeral we sat around in a room of flat-pack wooden chairs and listened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Under the surround-sound PA system we all cried, woefully and long, to ‘The Zephyr Song’.
My great-grandma has been dead for twelve years now. My friend, gone for two. The Chili Peppers just toured so my housemate plays the song. Like shorthand, my mind hums along. I nestle into the ritual like a needle in the grooves of a much-loved record.