The rain fell hard on the roof of the car, heavy but hollow as I was driven to the funeral. I sat in back, alone. My friends were there but not one of us spoke. I was alone in my grief; selfishly refusing the possibility that anyone understood, or that anyone cared or could care. Somehow the rain helped, made it easier not to cry.
It was cold when we arrived; the kind of cold that begins in your bones. I stepped out of the car and saw a clock with no numbers over the entrance. Was that a joke? I flashed angry, but it was only a spark and it went out as quickly as it started. There was no strength in me to react more.
A gentleman in black hurried over to me. After a few seconds and an incomprehensible greeting, the man offered me his umbrella. I didn’t think it was much of an offer considering that the stranger had been paid to usher me inside, and his insistence felt non-negotiable. So, he walked with me. I hated him completely.
Inside, a somnambulant dirge was already in progress. I sat and listened. People came and went from the podium. They praised and rationalized, and told stories from a book that didn’t relate to anything. But they were behind the lectern for themselves not for me, and not for him. The more they spoke the more I realized that not one of them had ever had a meaningful conversation with him.
The rest of the funeral flashed by like a storyboard.
Hugs from strangers and friends. Ushers helped me to the door. More rain and an umbrella appeared and blocked out the sky. A car, I sat in the back. Conversation, but I said nothing. Then, there was a restaurant. There was a round wooden table with a candle burning in an amber glass at its center. There were friends. There were beers for each of us.
We talked awkwardly until closing time.
We talked about nothing in particular.