|It’s raining today. How perfectly cliché. Lucy would have laughed.
“My funeral is on Thursday? Isn’t it supposed to downpour then? How perfectly timely of me.”
My car wouldn’t start, had to call Doris Brown, our closest neighbor, to jump-start my car. She smiled sadly at me, got my car going, and left without a word. I was 20 minutes late to the wake, though I doubt anyone noticed. Her family sat drooping in the front row while the pastor spoke the same words he always had to say, stuff about the after life, the sweetness of peace, the final rest. He left out the part where you die and never get up and are never warm again.
A baby a few rows over let out a huge squeal of delight while the pastor prayed. Half the heads in the church turned towards her perfect noise, the other half resisted. Smiling at a baby is not all right at a wake. What would Jesus think?
I watched Lucy’s ex put a comforting hand around her sister’s shoulders. She leaned into his arm, stiffened in guilt, and pulled away. He began playing with her hair, her earring, the sleeves of her dress. I watched her swat his hand away, a smirk playing at the corner of her mouth.
Her mother and father sat solemnly, but unaware. They knew this day was coming, had known for eight drawn out months, were just waiting for the day they would finally have to call out of work, finally have to send out those notices to relatives, finally have to dust off the old black suits. Her mother wore red lipstick; she dabbed her eyes dutifully every few minutes. Her dad decided not to shave that morning; made him look more grieved. Her younger brother slipped beneath the pews, playing a video game on mute.
People from school showed up. They fidgeted in their seats, wondering how early they could slip away without looking unsympathetic. A few of them saw me and began to snicker behind their hands. Right on cue, those vultures.
A raven hit the back stained glass window. Black feathers dropped slowly into the open pane, then blew away in the strong wind.
It was over. People stood, dutifully began to cry, and followed the deceased’s family out to the graveyard. There, pallbearers laid the sleeping princess, my princess, into the ground. The dress she was buried in was pink. Lucy hated pink. Her hair was sprawled around her eyes. Lucy hated her hair down. They put pearl earrings into her lobes. They must have had them pierced by the coroner. Have to keep up appearances. Her mouth was smoothed over with makeup, so she didn’t look so dead. I’ve kissed those lips. They will never die.
“Good of you to show, Camilla.” I turned. Mark Brown smiled at me through his solemn gray eyes. “Doris texted me, was worried you wouldn’t make it, what with the car trouble.”
“Nice of her. I made it,” I said, turning away. “I would have walked if I had to.”
Mark waited a few beats, then walked away, back to his car, along with the many others not willing to wait in the pouring rain for a dead girl’s burial.
Lucy’s sister saw me from afar and tugged the ex’s sleeve. The two glared from across the coffin. I averted my eyes back to the grave, freshly dug, the coffin closed forever. Heaps of mud were pushed back into the square, soiling the gold-rimmed coffin. Nothing but the best for the dead.
The walk home was long. My car refused to start up again, and being the last one at the cemetery means no one around to help. Lucy’s mother spit in my direction as she left, very lady-like, and her father gave me a sad look, as if I was the who had died, not one of his own children. It stopped raining just as I climbed the stairs of my home. Lucy laughed at my good fortune from wherever she is perched to watch the world.
I play it off as though I am not broken, but I am. Everything reminds me of her. I flinch when the wind chimes on our porch clink, a haunting resemblance to her chuckles. The pink reflections in my mother’s china.The bread baking in the oven is the smell of Lucy on a day in September; the perfume on my sheets the smell of her in Spring; the scent of fresh laundry, her everyday. The rain falls like the first time under the bleachers, her freckled peachy skin against mine, a shade Lucy always called caramel or graham cracker or chai, things that make me gag and couch painfully when I think about them. The wind like the time her sister found us in Lucy’s car, the thunder like her mother’s screams and her father’s yells, her sister’s sneers. The lightening and the gray sky, like the light behind Lucy’s eyes when she learned she was dying, slowly; strong, brave, fierce, relentless.