The Funeral (an Excerpt)


"I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because it's Monday afternoon, and I still haven't gotten over the hangover I earned Friday night ."

Monday morning was miserable. 
Outside the sky was painted a dismal shade of grey, and a cold breeze blew through the streets, plucking dead leaves from trees, and carrying them awhile, before discarding them upon the damp ground. 
The New Yorker rolled toward the church, the girls quiet and solemn in the car seats, clad in black dresses and woolen coats. Jennifer noticed her hands were shaking slightly as she lit a cigarette. So this was it, her mother’s funeral day. The last time she would ever lay eyes upon the woman, would be this morning, in a coffin. She shuddered at the thought, and blew a lungful of smoke out of the open window and into the chill of the fall air.
There were a few scattered cars outside the church, it wasn’t going to be a big ceremony to say the very least. Her mother didn’t have many friends; she mostly kept to herself. Jen’s grandparents on both sides were already dead; her mom only had one sister, who had never married. Gravel crunched beneath the tires as Trudy pulled into the parking lot, and cut the engine. 
‘Do you need a moment, Jen?’ she asked. 
‘No, I just want to get this over with.’
‘Okay.’ 
Jennifer opened the door, and stepped out of the car, letting her cigarette drop from her hand, a little red ring of lipstick around the butt. She crushed it into the gravel with the toe of her shoe.
‘Fuck, I really wish I had had a whiskey with breakfast to wash down the pills.’ 
‘Me too.’ Trudy breathed, her voice turning to mist in the autumn air. She locked the car, and walked over to Jennifer, slipping an arm through hers. ‘Let’s go Jen.’
‘Yeah, wish me luck.’
‘I’ll be by your side the whole time.’
‘Thanks, Trude.’ 
The girls walked silently towards the church entrance, arm in arm.

Aunt Maggie ran up to Jen, and threw her arms around her overdramatically.  
‘Oh, Jennifer, I’m so, so sorry.’ 
‘Thanks.’ She didn’t know what else to say, she really didn’t. 
‘Are you okay?’
‘As okay as I can be, I guess.’ 
‘You and Trudy are welcome to sit next to me.’
‘It’s fine thanks, I think we’ll just sit by ourselves. No offence.’
‘None taken, sweetheart, what ever you need.’
The girls found a deserted pew toward the rear of the church, and sat down.
What I need is a fucking drink, thought Jennifer. Fuck this, I don’t want to see him, I don’t care if it’s my mother’s funeral, I can pay my respects at her graveside, I don’t need this, I don’t want to mourn my mother’s death with that sonofabitch in the same room.
She couldn’t see him yet, her eyes kept darting nervously around the pews. She’s my mother, I loved her, cared for her, she raised me. He destroyed everything. Why would I want to be here? It’s not right. I don’t care what anybody thinks, it’s my fucking choice, it’s my fucking business. If anybody has problem with it they can go Hell. 
‘Trudy let’s go,’ she said, leaning in and nuzzling into her neck. ‘I don’t want to be here, I don’t need to here, it’s not right. Not with him here too. Mom would understand.’ 
‘Okay Jen, let’s go.’ 
They stood, and slipped back in to their coats. Jen glanced at the doors as she did the buttons up on the front. 
He walked in, dressed in a horrible mustard-colored suit. The fucker didn’t even have enough sense to wear black. She felt sick, her stomach lurched and a strange croak escaped from her Arden-coated lips. She grabbed onto the back of the pew and steadied herself. She felt Trudy place a hand on her shoulder.
‘It’s okay, Jen, we’ll be out of this goddamned church in a minute.’  
He seemed to walk in slow motion, his blue eyes taking everything in from behind the thick lenses of his glasses. His thinning blonde hair was combed over, and flattened with dollar store gel. His nicotine-stained moustache twitching into a sickening smile as his dead eyes found her. 
‘What the fuck are you smiling at, asshole!’ Trudy screamed. 
People turned and stared in disbelief, mouths hanging wide with shock. 
‘Come on, Jen, let’s go.’ She put an arm around her best friend’s waste, and the pair stumbled down the aisle, and out into the gloom of the morning. 



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Atop of a house a boy sits and drinks from an endless bottle 
Night after night
He tries to wish his best friend back to life

The house party rages on with youthful lust and innocence 
Christmas light climb like ivy out of season
She stumbles around inside
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