the funeral and after (a Broken World story)
The funeral went as expected. Sadness with a splash of simmering tensions. The newly-minted widow and her children saying goodbye. Standing around as he was lowered into the ground.
The priest saying something about Jesus and friends whispering about how outlandish the widow’s hat was. One of the kids mad that they could still hear the cars on the highway. “How can he ever rest in peace? Maybe from midnight til dawn.”
Finally everyone walking by and throwing in a handful of dirt. They say that people can’t actually visualize any number higher than five… so there were more people throwing in dirt than you could possibly imagine.
And then the widow was standing there in front of the hole. Swaying gently. Shaking.
You could hear a big semi rumbling by.
Then she threw herself into the open grave in full view of all of the children. They heard the thud as she hit the casket.
Later that night the children were gathered back at the house. Eating casseroles and pasta that neighbors brought over and drinking wine and desperately trying not to talk about the fact that they heard her say something after the thud. Until they did.
“Should we have said something?”
“It’s what she wanted.”
“Do you think they filled in the grave yet?”
“Someone must have heard her right?”
“I saw the guy sitting in the backhoe. He was wearing a Walkman.”
“So he probably filled it in right after we drove off.”
“They’re not called Walkmans anymore. Ear buds or something.”
“Did you hear her too?”
“Did you hear what she said?”
“It was more of a cry.”
“Have to hand it to her, quite a plot twist. Throwing herself into the grave.”
“Yeah. I did not see that coming.”
There was a long pause.
“Should we drink a toast to dad?”
“And mom maybe?”
“We don’t know for sure that she got buried with him.”
“If she didn’t she would have taken a cab back here… right?”
They all looked at the door expectantly.
“A toast to dad.”
They all lifted their glasses.
“To dad” they said as one.
“What was with that hat?”