Jess’s Expiration Date

by Litsa Dremousis

Jess’s memorial was like a cross between a junior high tolo and an AA meeting, only less formal and with fewer tears. A punch bowl filled with apple juice and surrounded by Dixie cups rested on a folding table in the back of the auditorium and when individuals in front took turns addressing the crowd, the microphone was beset by technical difficulties. The tone was set by his mother, who wore red and greeted the assembled placidly, as if we were there to view her new deck furniture and not pay tribute to her oldest son, who had died the week before. “I’m so sorry for your loss, Mrs. Templeton,” I said and put my arm on her shoulder. “Of course, Mia,” she replied and walked away, as if acknowledgment of why we were gathered were a breach of protocol. A year later, Jess’s ashes remain nestled in the pantry of his Uncle Harold’s house, Mrs. Templeton apparently confident her brother won’t confuse Jess with the pears she cans for her family each year.


Litsa Dremousis's work appears in The Believer, BlackBook, Bookmarks, Esquire, Filter, Hobart, McSweeney's, Monkeybicycle, MovieMaker, Nerve, Nylon, Paper, Paste, Pindeldyboz, Poets and Writers, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Sound, the Seattle Weekly, on NPR and in sundry other venues. She is completing her first novel, and frolics here.