So we're on the way to Jazz class tonight. All the kids are with me because Mister is "working" in Rio this week so he can't look after the little ones while I escort EM to her dance class, as per our usual arrangement.
We pass a graveyard. The same graveyard we pass every week, every day practically, sometimes twice a day. Often--is what I'm getting at. For some reason, seeing this graveyard on this particular day prompts EM to ask, "Mom, where is Puss actually buried?"
"Yeah Mom," Boy adds, instantly forgetting the loose thread he's been wrapping around his index finger, and seamlessly picking up EM's train of thought like as if they shared a brain, "Puss is dead. Dead people live in graves. Where is Puss buried?"
Damn. Damn, shit, hell, and damn. What does one say? Best to stick to the truth. Right?
"Well," I hedge, "Puss isn't actually buried anywhere. The ground was too frozen when he died to dig a hole. Wow! Lots of traffic today, hm? Hope we're not late. Did you remember to bring your water bottle?"
My clever ruse does not work.
"So where is he then?" Trust EM to refuse to let a sleeping cat lie.
"Well. I left him with the doctor. The doctor took care of him for us."
"Ah. Well. The doctor cremated his body. He burned it up. It's how they take care of animals after they die."
"They BURNED him? In a FIRE?" Missy is horrified.
Damn. Damn, shit, hell, and damn.
"But he was already dead. Right Mom?" EM seems to be absorbing this news with sober aplomb. I can't see her face in the rearview mirror. I hope that pause before she asked that last question wasn't the choking back of mortal terror.
"Right. Of course. Cremation is just a very practical way of taking care of a dead body."
"So first they cut a hole to take Puss out. Then there was just a body, and they had to burn it, and what if his eyes went WHAAAAAH! and his skin was all GRXXXXXX! and there was smoke everywhere, and, and then....."
Trust Boy to get everyone off topic with an orgasmic explosion of cartoon-tastic nonsense that will not stop until we've arrived at our destination, and EM has literally slammed the car door in his ridiculously animated face.
That was pretty much the end of it. Or so I thought.
Later this evening, as I was tucking everyone in and kissing them all goodnight, Boy grabbed my face and held it close to his in that way he does when he really needs me to listen to him, "When I die Mom. Can I be buried? Can I live in a grave like the ghosts in Shaggy? Or do I have to be burned like Puss?"
Damn. I mean seriously. Just. Dah-um.
"Of course you can be buried, honey. It's your choice. Of course you don't have to be burned."
"Even if it's winter? Even if the ground is frozen?"
"Don't ever die, okay?"
"Okay mom. I promise."