This is the scene I mentioned before that I cut out of “Now or Forever”. It seems apropos at this time.
I hold the copyright on this work. Please don’t copy or use it without permission.
The clay bled as red the blood seeping from the wound in David Giles’s heart. How unfair that this day should be so beautiful. The sun was a yellow button on the clear blue fabric of the late autumn sky. A small breeze whispered through the trees, and a few tattered horsetail clouds sailed overhead.
Small groups of darkly-dressed people moved away from the graveside, leaving the family alone to face that uncomfortable moment when they must admit that the service was over and that she was dead after all. The funeral director stood by the limo, waiting with the patience of one who sees eternity every day.
“Are you sure you’ll be OK, Dave?”
He turned his gaze away from the rosewood box and looked toward his sister-in-law.
“Yeah, I’ll be all right.”
“We can stay a couple of days, if you need us to…”
“Thanks, Julie. I’ll be all right. Really.”
She looked so much like her sister that he had a hard time looking straight at her. He found himself looking over her shoulder at things off in the distance, and he knew she was thinking that he was distracted and shocked. He was both, but that was not the point. He forced himself to look at her face. Her eyes were red and watery, her lipstick smeared.
“Really. I’ll be OK. I think I need to be alone some right now, and you guys probably do, too.”
She looked dubious, but Rich, her husband, looked relieved.
“OK. But call us if you need anything. Anything. OK?”
“All right. Thanks again. You guys have been great.”
They stood facing each other for a few more moments, unsure where to look or what to do with their hands. They hugged awkwardly, not really friends–they had only met the one time less than two years ago at the wedding. Now they were not really relatives, either. He shook Rich’s hand, and they exchanged one last round of meaningless noises as they moved away from each other, Julie and Rich toward Tulsa and their alien Great Plains life, Dave toward his three-bedroom suburban house, ordinary and empty. His heart was full of echoes, his soul full of dust.