It starts to rain as they enter the church, a cacophony of black, brown, neutral colors. They shuffle to their positions as they make the nervous small talk that inevitably accompanies any sort of gathering, even in such somber occasions as this. The need for talk, any kind, even if it’s about weather patterns, sports teams, the kind of cream to put in a cup of coffee; it’s all one can do to keep the thoughts out. Thoughts of sorrow, despair, the need for order in an unruly world, whether they remembered to lock the back door before coming here. It all mixes, blends together till the collected mass rises towards the cathedral ceiling. You could almost see it if the light was right.
They’re over there. Right towards the front as expected. Center of attention required in these kinds of things. You don’t want it. No one does. You have to sit there. Smile sweetly. Dab at the tears that appear on your cheek while inside you have melted away. It’s like a lava flow. It pours you out onto the sidewalk. The bones crumple in the melee. It takes all the effort in the world to tape yourself together for just a moment.
Oh but the food! It’s early yet, so they’ll keep stopping by with the casserole dishes. You can’t blame them. They know consciously it won’t bring certain things back. But maybe the food will facilitate some of the color to return. It’s kind of funny really. Patching the soul with cheese bakes and apple strudel. But hey, they’re making the effort. At least for now.
The preacher has arrived. Feels strange to sit in church. Never thought the family was much the religious type. Probably felt like they had too. Societal pressure is funny that way.
He looks young. Certainly wasn’t around when I was here last. I can tell he wants to do a good job because he looks so nervous. He’ll warm up quick though, I imagine. The somber nature of this kind of occasion makes the script fairly straightforward. Wonder who will come up to say a few words. Wonder how many more will want to.
Everything looks to be almost ready. The coffin lies open in the middle of the stage. That’s bold. They’re good, these morticians, but not that good. Everybody always ends up looking more like wax figures.
Light flashes bright for a moment. Had to be from the storm. It obscures something the priest does though whatever it is a titter of nervous laughter reverberates throughout the audience. No doubt they will thank him afterwards for the job he did in such difficult of circumstances. He’ll nod, likely distracted by a wedding he must now prepare to officiate tomorrow. Or maybe a baptism or a confirmation. It’s that time of the year.
I hear music swell. Beethoven I think. Or Mozart. Something with a lot of violins. I can’t believe this is the last time we’ll really get to know him. For the inevitable forgetfulness begins soon after. They’ll try not to but time is cruel. Human memory even more so. It won’t be held against them.
The light hasn’t shown up again. Guess its ok to sit back for a while.
Seems like I have nothing but time now.