Photo credit: kingofcoleslaw from morguefile.com
It rained that day. Damp earth mixed with silvered tears from heaven; drops slithering over the skin of our raised umbrellas to form mud. The red-clayed result fell inwards beneath the hovering casket adorned with a shield of white lilies. Eulogy was cited. Family muttered and sniffled behind black-gloved hands. The breeze collected around ladies’ stockinged ankles and felt up their fluttering mourning dresses. Their heels sank into the muck around this receiving hole that would take him in for eternity. We stood sentinel to a lifeless shell; we stood as wraiths in the storm.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. From earth we came, to earth we return. Amen.
Two of us stayed behind. She was pale as moonstone, delicate as ivory. Eyes of jade, lips curved and soft as velvet pillows. She held an umbrella. I did not. I stood there, shoulders hunched, sopping with wet and grief at words left unsaid. Her approach elicited no response from me. She offered her umbrella. Blood filled my mouth; I bit my tongue to prevent a lash-out. How dare she be kind to me?
The only time before that I’d seen her was in the passenger side of my father’s car.