She didn’t know it then, but there was a specific way that she was supposed to scatter the ashes. She had her father’s in a cylinder and her mother’s in a plastic bag and she couldn’t hold both at the same time, they were so heavy. She figured they must have cremated the bodies in the coffins. Someone told her later that you were supposed to dig small furrows in the ground and array the ashes in rows, like crops, before covering them up with soil, because otherwise the ashes will disperse over the ground and solidify into a white film when it rains. She and her brother and sister emptied both parents all at once and they were amazed and terrified by the size of the mushroom cloud that formed. The ashes were less like ashes than they were plaster or concrete. It was a still day by the beach and she and her brother and sister ate salad rolls and fruitcake and talked about how happy their parents had been there, of all places. On the way back to the car they could still feel the grit in their hair and between their teeth. I think I just swallowed a tiny piece of Dad, she remembers someone saying.
Oliver Mestitz makes music as The Finks