My older sister Nancy and I love funerals. We go at random every weekend, ingratiating ourselves into the crowds, the friends, the family. We pretend to weep with the mourners, while we absorb things with the coldness of detectives, me in an oversized suit, borrowed from Dad. Nancy in one of Mother’s nice black gowns. We love the darkness, the garb, the somberness. The people gathered together, mothers and children, cousins, nephews, people with connections we cannot fathom. Being so close to darkness, a kind of whirl, excitement. We don’t know dead people, the wildness of loss. Mother and Dad are divorced, but that’s different. They wear fedoras and lavender and false civility. Even our grandparents still live, regaling us with tales of meeting Teddy Roosevelt and other trivialities.
Barry sat on the bed as he read the letter.
“Well that’s old Jim away.”
She sat down and put her arm around him.
“Are you okay?”
“I suppose so.”
I’ve been in the park, lunchtime I went to sit in the sunshine. It was nice. I was on my own as usual and today I just had an apple. It was small, red on one side, green on the other and there was a small bruise near the bottom. I hadn’t brought sandwiches today. Partly because I was late up and didn’t have much time but mostly because I only had chicken roll in the fridge.