It was perfect weather for a funeral. He knew that would sound odd to other people, but he was always a little morbid anyway. He had experienced a sunny funeral, the two caskets being buried with the sun beating down the back of his head, his Grandma clutching his shoulder tightly. Manicured nails piercing into his soft skin. Bright red polish and way too long.
It was grey and overcast, but not raining. The kind of weather that made the sky looks endless, limitless, and impossibly big. Big was such a small word, he had heard that in a movie once. And it was true, the word big did nothing to describe the enormity of the sky. He hated it when it rained at funerals; at his uncle's funeral it had poured buckets. It just gave old ladies with bad perms to comment on how it was "God mourning too!" What a bunch of bull sht
He wasn't quite sure why he was going to the funeral. Hell he didn't go to the wedding. He had sent a waffle maker, and had regretted it as soon as he sent it in the mail. Sawyer couldn't help but shake his head at the embarrassing memory. A Fcking waffle maker, unbelievable.
He finally pulled up in front of the church; it was a quaint building with peeling white paint. He saw a line up out front, a receiving line of sorts. He took a deep breath, he wasn't sure if he was ready to see these people again. He doubted everyone was here, not everyone had stayed in Australia, but god dammit, when they landed here he wasn't about to hop another plane to get to the good ol' US of A. Screw that. Australia was just fine for him.
He heaved a sigh and climbed out of the car, dreading this moment. But he felt like he was obligated to attend this. Charlie may have been a pain in the ass but that was neither here nor there. He tried to dodge the receiving line, knowing who would be at the end. He had already seen a shock of blonde hair in his peripheral vision. He felt a hand touch his shoulder and mentally kicked himself. He glanced at a woman with heavy crow's feet, fluffy platinum blonde hair with a slightly crooked nose.
"Hello dear" she said warmly with a heavy British accent and Sawyer felt instantly guilty about trying to dodge Charlie's grieving mother. "I'm Belinda Pace" she said offering him her hand to shake and he obliged, flashing his dimples wearily. He didn't really smile too often, at the library the kids tended to stay away from him, which was just peachy with him. Kids had never been his strong point, no his strong point was closer to heavily intoxicated women. With lots of money, don't forget that.
He wasn't sure how he should introduce himself. He went by James now; he had to with a steady job. He wasn't about to commit to changing his name, and since all his papers said James Ford, that's just what he'd have to go by. "James Ford" he said, he still said it with some level of awkwardness. He was so used to Sawyer.
"Nice to meet you James" Belinda said with a small smile "And how did you know Charles?" she questioned.
Sawyer really didn't know what to say. He hated mentioning the island, it sparked unwelcome questions. He was one of the only survivors who didn't take a book deal, or get interviewed by Barbara Walters or Matt Lauer. Hell they'd have to bleep out half of what he said anyways.
"Uh we lived together for a short time" was Sawyers response. He smiled, that was actually a pretty good cover.
"Oh, was that after the" Belinda lowered her voice considerably "Divorce?" she said the last word in a hissed whisper.
Sawyer managed to nod, but furrowed his eyebrows. Claire and Charlie had gotten a divorce? Odd, he thought they would be a couple that would make it, apparently not.
Another relative approached Belinda and Sawyer felt himself being shuffled down the line. He met Charlie's father, Nigel, his Brother Liam, Liam's wife Karen. And suddenly he was face to face with her.
Her eyes positively lit up. "Oh" she said, her mouth indeed making a perfect 'O' shape. She looked exactly the same; six years hadn't changed her young face at all.
He moved to shake her hand, "Hi Claire" he said and smiled a real smile. Claire and he hadn't talked much on the island at all; sometimes he would read to her baby but that was about it. So what surprised him most was her reaction.
She didn't shake his hand just produced a bright smile. "Handshakes are for strangers, Sawyer" she said in a teasing tone of voice and grabbed his forearm, pulling him close and threw her arms around him in a tight embrace. "It's so good to see you" she said pulling away, Sawyer was still in shock. He wasn't used to getting thrown around like a rag doll, especially not by some tiny blonde, almost a foot shorter then him.
"What are you doing these days?" she enquired, the same smile playing on her delicate features.
"Librarian" he said gruffly, he got teased a lot about his profession. People don't expect a smart ass southerner whose previous employment was cheating women and their husbands out of money to stack shelves and orchestrate puppet shows. Not that he did the latter or anything.
"That's too perfect!" Claire exclaimed and slapped his arm to punctuate the perfection somehow.
Claire glanced at the frail women next to Sawyer and said in an impossibly sweet voice "Hi Aunt Millie!" Her and Aunt Millie exchanged pleasantries and Claire turned back to Sawyer.
"Sorry about that, I guess we're blocking up the line" Claire said apologetically and Sawyer nodded moving to enter the church. He felt someone grab him once again and saw that it was Claire holding onto his arm. "I want you to find me after the service, I'm not finished with you" he nodded dumbly and she released her death grip on his bicep letting him walk into the church, but he was stopped again by two slight blonde children, one who looked six or seven and another one that he would guess would be four or five? He really wasn't good with children.
The little girl passed him a program with the same unbearably engaging smile he had just seen on Claire's face when greeting Aunt Millie. The older child, a little boy just stared at his shoes solemnly. Reminding Sawyer of another little blonde boy who had remained silent at a funeral many years ago.
He took a seat in the back pew and closed his eyes taking a deep breath, hoping to avoid any other ghosts from the past.