Eddy Silva’s Wake
By Mark Cote
Eddy Silva died last Tuesday. Heart attack. 68 years old. Looked 82. Untethered by circumstances he lived the life of a drifter. Two wives, five kids and countless jobs on his scorecard. Beaten down. Neither women nor job could keep him in one place too long. Seemed to always be moving, even when he was sitting still.
Death would give a permanence to his life that he never had while living.
Eddy Silva died in Texas. He’d been living there the last few years, eking out a living working on cars and motorcycles when he had the strength and needed money for rent. He was good with his hands, always had been. Could coax an engine back to life and make it run better than new. Claimed all he needed to do was listen to what the sound was telling him-what needed tuning, tightening, where to grease, what to replace-what to leave alone. On one of his many runs up the East Coast to see his mother, the fan belt in his van snapped in the middle of nowhere.
Eddy Silva used his girlfriends bra as a temporary fix and went about his way. Motors purred at his touch the same way women would swoon to his greased long black hair, sparkling blue eyes. Elvis like good looks. High check bones, a dimple mid-chin.
Eddy Silva was born with one kidney. No one knew until he joined the Army and they told him he was missing a part. Didn’t seem to matter. He had lived this long; long enough to sign his ass and what other parts he did have over to good old Uncle Sam.
Eddy Silva was skinny, wiry; had to cut holes in all his belts with a rusty pocket knife so he could keep his pants up. Don’t know where he’d put another kidney if he’d had one.
Eddy Silva was a wild man, feral. A free ramblin’ cowboy at heart. Loved his mother. Hated the “man”.
Eddy Silva had, by the age of 18, drank enough and smoked enough that missing a kidney was the least of his worries. Had riddin,’ helmet less, homemade choppers, welded together in the barn late at night after way too many beers, oxi-aceteline torches and parts stripped off stolen motorcycles with rusty wrenches-bald tires and bare knuckles. Balls to the wall.
If he hadn’t killed himself by now the Army could have a go at it.
The Army didn’t care. A second kidney wasn’t going to make one bit of difference in the steamy jungle hellhole he was heading to. No one in South East Asia gave two fucks how many kidneys he had. If he came home in a body bag, whatever parts he was missing would be of no consequence.
Eddy Silva did come home, still missing a kidney. He felt older than the short 12 months he had been gone, rougher around the edges than he had been when he went in. Wiser somehow. Smoked and drank even more. Felt he deserved it, having lived through the shit of the war unscathed. Felt that God had made up for the kidney mishap.
Eddy Silva’s wake was on the Friday of the week of the Tuesday he died.
His cremated ashes were buried on the Wednesday. He’d wanted it that way. Get the messy stuff out of the way and then have a party. Rebel to the end.