I guess it all starts in your teens. I guess that’s when all of them start dying like drowning ants– dropping like flies in midair.
I sat there as they did their prayer. I watched tears fall, wandering what they were for. Every Sobber had a different reason to sob. A reason personal– understood and felt only by them.
Most Sobbers were seated on stools. Some, the slightly younger, stood. It was like they were crying because they knew that soon, their time would come as well. And judging by the look of them, it wasn’t too far away.
I sighed and tried shrugging the disturbing feeling away.
The coffin had the body. The body had tissue stuffed into its nostrills and mouth. I heard it was to prevent sliva from leaking out, but I was no cropse expert.
Only yesterday did the body stop breathing.
The Priest started chanting. We were told to place coins on the body– pay the ferryman to accept the body. That’s what we become, right? Just ‘the body’. No more Sara, Lee, or Kela. Just ‘the body’.
I heard someone snotting beside me. My mum was crying. Looking around, I think I was the only one not blowing into a tissue. I even nearly chuckled as I remembered quotes by Mark Twain about death.
“Go to heaven for the atmosphere, hell for the company.
“Why do we rejoyce at a wedding and cry at a funeral? Is it because we are not the person involved?”
Oh, I’m sorry. Am I being cold? Selfish? Unfeeling? Or maybe You think I have a psychological problem? Heck, no. And yes, I know only a psycho would deny being psychotic. But I am not. I was just being rasional. Why add to the mourning noises?
The priest sang more songs. Flies began flying around the body. It looked so still. So at peace. Freed from freedom– or the concept of it. Given wings. I studied every wrinkle and gray hair strand on the old face. The grand clothes it was dressed in. The bracelet made of gold around the skinny wrist– a wedding bracelet. The piercings and tattoos to be offered to God. Because some believe we go naked to heaven and have only our skin.
Yea. I miss the body too– there was a reason I was here. I remember being too young and offered sweets made by the now lifeless cropse. The way it smiled. The way it dressed in a personalized fashion. The slow deteroriation of its ability to walk. Then, the loss of memory. Eventually, loss of appitite came.
A cousin once told me that he was glad seeing my grandfathers eat like there was not enough food in all the world to satisfy them– It meant that they still had a taste for life.
I saw the body a week before; it couldn’t talk anymore. All it did was lie in bed. Sleep all day. Food was force fed.
I snapped out of my reverie as we were called to circle the body– pay our respects. I touched it. Its skin was soft, but lacked temperature. And at that moment, I felt the missing feeling. The feeling that you get when you lose someone or something, and the realization dawns on you.
I’d never see this body again my entire life…
Only in pictures, only in memories. Only ever as a copy of the real thing…
And I, maybe the youngest there, allowed myself to break my wall. There was no reason to be strong anymore. No reason to have pride. And I joined them. I did what people were allowed to do in funerals.