The Funeral by B. Bullock


The procession had just started and already I could taste it, already, it was turning my stomach and expelling my hunger like an ocean would if I were rocking against its waves. I watched the sons, the brothers, the daughters, the wife make her way down the aisle, walking slow and careful like they were walking on glass sheets as thin and delicate as freshly baptized paper mache. I tasted their sorrow, swallowed it with such difficulty, my tears had no choice but show, flowing over my face like the tragic grace of New Orleans, like the levees broke all over again. I reached out my hand, placed my fingers along the brim of the Good Book, craving strength from something, wanting the ugliness of death’s wake to disappear from my view entirely. I looked away, to the windows, to the mourning botanical displays, to the baby boy in his mother’s arms two rows up, staring back at me, to the faces just like mine, sick of how the sadness had consumed the air and held us hostage like a Bonnie or a Clyde. The pastor’s endless offerings of consolation and appropriateness, the “comfort.in.my.affliction.in.the.flesh.oh.blessed.be-“ I could not keep a sentence together if God had asked me to himself. Inside, I begged the service to be over, so we could all go back to living again and carrying on like horseflies, go back to pretending that there are no such things as endings. Go back to protecting our ignorance, avoiding processions, keeping our eyes closed while keeping them open. Because I’d do anything, anything to keep that taste out of my mouth.

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