His Funeral

Damned day time funerals. Today, even the scant movement of the trees blew troubling doubt into her soul.

A cook's tour of puffy eyes, quickly thrown together black ensembles, too many pair of black pumps that weren't shined and she was there. She sat in the back of the church, slender pale fingers tipped in red lacquer handling the Swarovski Rosary as if she were meditating prayerfully.

The hearse delivered the casket as surviving family stood stunned in the narthex. Once the pallbearers advanced the few family fell in behind the casket to find their seats in the front pews, regarding the assembled guests from behind black veils of net or chiffon.

The widow was especially frail yet her piercing green eyes scanned for folk that needed to be here: the decades old friends, the close neighbors, the long-distance family and finally the friends where she had recently attended their family's funerals or perhaps her oldest son. At this age there is a protocol of reciprocity in the society for end of life ceremonies.

The heavy lace mantilla obscured her face as she bowed her head escaping from the peering widow's watery gaze. As her head stayed bowed the dirge ended and the Priest began the service.

"I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord;
He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live;
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

Her heart should have trembled at the blasphemy she had perpetrated on her husband 12 years ago. Hadn't she said almost the same thing as his fine hard flesh lay beneath her? She took him without remorse, at least at the time.

She watched the St John family bury Mick's father, eaten up by dark emotions of her crime. She lied to Mick, She stole from him and his family, and she killed him, destroying their gladness.

When she could bear no more she knelt, her head down on her crossed hands as silent tears escaped involuntarily. Was it in her heart or in her head that she spoke, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned", she crossed herself and bolted from the back of the church without gathering her prayer card.

The ornately carved 10 foot doors sent bleaching light into the dark narthex as she momentarily forgot where her car was parked. She stood dazed as she took small, careful steps toward the side walk and sought the comfort of the tree covered concrete as she reached into the small purse and retrieved her key ring as if shaking them would deliver the roadster to her.

She patted the tear drop away and spotted the car down the lane, stepping down the sidewalk with re-gathered confidence only to lose it all when she raised her head from her thoughts and regarded the man sitting on the hood of her red Mercedes sportser.

Clad in chinos, a bowling shirt and jacket, his broad brimmed hat pulled down to mask his features he was just a man perhaps walking to the corner for a newspaper. The toothpick in the corner of his mouth moved as he asked:

"Coraline, why are you at my father's funeral?"