OK, I couldn’t resist. The temptation of such a tasty prompt on Bekindrewrite’s InMon blog was just too much. Write about what you know, they say. The thought of a funeral is close to my heart just now, so I must write …
Funeral cut short
The crematorium was packed. Every sibling, relation and acquaintance within a day’s drive had turned up. They all wore black. It’s a mark of respect, you know. Suits, ties, dresses, hats, shoes, all black. Faces were solemn and heads bowed. Conversation was kept low so as not to intrude into the reflective and thoughtful atmosphere. His wife, the deceased’s that is, wore a salmon pink dress, with contrasting scarf and fascinator. Her stilettos matched the dress. She sat alone, in the front row, except for the comfort of an enigmatic smile.
As the coffin was borne in, by four pallbearers, those gathered stood in silence. The minister stood and greeted the deceased, then turned towards the expectant faces. He talked through the usual routine of saying what a wonderful person the corpse had been, how generous, philanthropic. What a fine business man; what a fine husband and father. How he loved his family and how, in turn, they – that is all of those there gathered – must have loved him. He paused. There was an uncomfortable shuffling of feet.
He continued, and as the curtains drew round the coffin, he turned, again, to face the black-draped family.
“He has the following announcement to all of you, before his earthly remains are gone forever.”
The music stopped. The minister read on.
“He says, ‘As a millionaire I am grateful and humbled by the presence of so many of my relatives and friends. Sadly, I feel your journeys have been wasted because, there is nothing here for you. Everything I had is gone. I gave it away years ago. Only my lovely wife will benefit from my estate. The rest of you may as well go now. It’s a pity you were never there when I needed you.’”
There was silence. Nobody moved, nobody breathed. The minister held open the door while the flamingo-esque widow left the room and walked past the assembled blooms. As the door shut behind her the ordered rows of mourners boiled into a seething black mass; fists and accusations thrown in all directions.
She sat in the limousine and dabbed the corner of her eye, “Home, James,” and her smile remained, enigmatic.
* * *
(c) 2012, K Patrick Moody