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I arrived at the funeral late. The rain had set in and turned the passable Saturday afternoon to grey; fitting for the occasion.
There were so many faces on all sides, smothering me with kind words and gestures. I had seen them all before, but names escaped me. My head began an automatic rhythm, autopilot. It nodded at all her friends. It gave knowing looks to relatives. It did the job my conscious mind was not up to doing.
I can’t even remember a word of the service. It was if language had lost its meanings. The robed man spoke with disjointed sounds and syllables. The music though, it was lovely. In stark contrast to the garbled messages prior, the song broke through the haze.
She had always loved that song. God knows why. Another song with meaningless words and mediocre tune, but it was her song. She gave it meaning. As sudden as it had started, the song stopped and the haze grabbed the opportunity to reform.
Home; the autopilot was taking a break. Those faces were back, and had become clearer. She would’ve been happy to see them.
It wasn’t long and they all left. I think it was obvious I wasn’t really there. The sky had cleared outside, but the haze remained.
I went to bed then, not knowing what else to do. I think the autopilot had returned from his break, and was once again at the controls. I didn’t remember falling asleep.
A smell woke me, sharp and intrusive; smoke. Why I didn’t get up, I don’t know. It just seemed right to lay there, breathe it in.
I wonder if the faces had known how far away I really was. They had cooked some simple finger foods for the wake and had left the oven on when they left. Perhaps they thought I would know to turn it off. Perhaps they knew it was what I wanted.
That song is on repeat now. Such a simple tune, but she gives it meaning. And we sing along together.