Crystal's StorySite storysite.org
by Ray Kitten
The funeral in many ways was not entirely unlike the multitude of others that had been held under this room since the community hall had been constructed in the 1930's. Many of the same expressions hung on today's batch of faces, and the urns were filled with the same flowers as they had been every week for the last 75 years. Think every week is an exaggeration? People die every day, check your local paper in the obituaries column and see for yourself. People are born every day, probably in roughly equal numbers, only barely favoring the creation of new life. But in some ways this funeral was unlike anything that had been seen here, for one thing the deceased had been a police officer, so many of the attendants, those closest co-workers, were also police officers. Many of the other officers who had served with deceased were not in attendance today however, for this was not the official police memorial, that had been conducted three days prior.
Slowly in small groups they entered, each one wishing their somber condolences to the begrieved, there was much solemn shaking of hands and the occasional tearful hug. It was in many ways a sight familiar to a funeral director, the slouch of the shoulders, and head dangling from a neck too limp with grief to hold it straight. Perhaps it was those sagging shoulders, but those suits never did really look as sharp and proper as they were meant to at these events. Made one puzzle, what was the point in getting dressed in ones most expensive clothes for a gathering where sadness prevents anything you could possibly wear from looking good, and the guest of honor really couldn't care less what you wear. But tradition was as it was and so even at this most untraditional funeral, some things were irrepressible.
After they had exchanged heartfelt sorrows and sympathetic well wishes the guests then proceeded to the casket to take one last look at a face they had never seen before. It was fortunate that an open casket was possible, a rare event in police funerals, however the officer in question had died of vehicular accident, no form of foul play. Of course what it had taken to restore the corpses neck to a normal appearance was nothing the family need now. The morgue make-up artist had done a phenomenal job restoring an appearance of life. One could practically see the eyelashes fluttering as though asleep, only the absence of the gentle rise and fall of the corpses bosom prevented that illusion. Even that detail was easily enough overlooked from the serenity apparent on the face. The lips, slick and pink, seemed ready to part at any moment for a gentle sigh, and there was a healthy blush artificially installed upon the cheeks.
The dress was a pale blue silk with a rounded neckline and the sleeves were sheer clouds of the purest sky. The bodice was tight, gracing the magnificent swell of the departed's bosom, and the flowing skirt was tucked underneath to present a tidy appearance from the front. Only the feet peeked out below the hem and a glitter where a sapphire ankle bracelet contrasted the white stockings.
One by one the people paid their respects, many of them stopping to salute the officer they barely recognized out of uniform. There were many whispered good-byes, reminisces of good times, and voiced regrets. Among the officers a group of the departed's friends came, girls from a club that the departed went to. Of all the visitors they were the among the exceptionally few that recognized the face that bid them goodbye. They gave their hugs to the begrieved and one by one placed a sapphire blue rose in the casket, four in all. Once people had arrived and paid their respects many of them proceeded immediately to their seats and sat in silent contemplation, waiting for the funeral proper to begin. Others milled together in small groups sharing warm memories, once or twice the girls from the club were even seen socializing, each getting to know a side of the deceased they hadn't known before. More than a few tears were shed, in a place that was no stranger to a damp eye.
Finally the last of the people expected had arrived and the time drew near for the ceremony, as everyone took their places. The minister made his way to the podium where the microphone had been prepared. "Dearest friends, we come together in sadness today to say farewell to our much beloved Roderick James Stevenson, who at his own request shall for the remainder of this ceremony be referred to Charlene for that is who he truly felt he was."
© 2002 by Ray Kitten. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.