the short story project


t b


the funeral started promptly at 11. but she was never on time. she didn’t even wake up until a quarter to ten, and preceded to spend the next hour crying on the edge of the bathtub. she cried in the dark, the suite having no windows in the bathroom, therefore no natural lighting and she refused to turn on the switch. he wasn’t staying with her, so he didn’t wake her in time. actually, he was on a flight from a private airport to frankfurt, drowsy with the heady comfort of first class cashmere and mimosa. she cried alone. and not once for the deceased.

she decided on a quick shower and dressed carefully in the oscar de la renta suit hanging in the closet. it was slim, and black and so was she. her plaits were fresh and in a single braid down her back, wrapped into a firm chignon at the base of her neck. she didn’t have a long neck. her mother had a long neck, swan like and annoying. she remembered feeling like the length of her mother’s neck must have had something to do with her attitude; giving her a feeling of superiority since it made her look like she was looking down on everyone. and her mother especially looked down at her. she would squint her feline eyes and never bend her neck to notice her. her mouth would barely open and she would bark whatever request to her. a wave of her hand was not uncommon if she happened to ask her mother a question that needed an answer- no matter how serious. no matter how young she was. she smoothed the perfectly fitted skirt over her hips and reached for the jacket. she skipped a top and decided the covering of her black lace balconette bodysuit would be enough. her mother would have a fit. but she was an adult, a 31 year old woman, with a home and a life of her own. and something her mother no longer had. a husband.

she placed her black slingback heels on her feet and wrapped a mint and aqua green scarf in a winding pattern around her neck. no jewelry and no makeup. the crying had reddened her eyes but she placed large and expensive black glasses on her face. she thought twice before she left and stood gazing at something on the side console for a long minute before she reached for it, and gathered up her wedding band and placed it on her finger.

outside the air was crisp and it was fall. a black sedan was waiting outside the hotel entrance as she exited and she knew this car was left by her husband. she looked at the driver through covered eyes and smiled softly as she got into the back seat. things went through her mind, like would she ride with her mother to the grave site, would she sit with her, would they embrace in the commonality of having lost a man they both loved, possessed and were possessed by? she put these things out of her head and thought of nothing as she rode.

the sweeping church was not as imposing as the large trees surrounding it. as the wind blew, leaves swirled down to the ground and the sun shined through the shade of them. she opened the door and walked down the marble hall to the sanctuary where her father lay like a pontiff at the head of the church. the pews were full of guests and they were all being led by the minister in prayer. she stopped at the door and then made her way down the aisle. when she got to the front she saw her mother, head high and facing ahead, her eyes dry and rested. there were her uncles and their wives and her brother. she moved swiftly to sit next to him. he opened his eyes, looked at her with green almonds and closed them again. she reached for his hand and he clasped her’s tightly.