THE FIRST FUNERAL

 

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Image courtesy of krem.com

I shot him. Dead. I shot him three times. 

One shot for the money, the second for the road, and the third to ensure that he was really gone.

I shot him dead, but I’ll be at his funeral. I would laugh at his funeral and know why. You would cry for him and know why.

The coffin is stretched out on a raised platform. I have been watching it from the back row. 2 hours gone by and no movement. I expected it to move 5 minutes ago. The lid flying open violently and the preacher forced to take back his sleepy sermon on forgiveness. All in protest of an unwelcome visitor. Yet, it remained still.

Yesterday, my house wasn’t still. It was boiling. My father was angry. I was watching. Him and the TV. A man, holding a gun was talking. There was a glazed look in his eyes. A look that said I am speaking to you, but I don’t see you. You see me in front of you, but I am not here. I listened to him.

My father was talking. No he was shouting. Spitting out words like, deranged, mental, cold-blooded, murder, defense, attorney, trial, execution, justice.  Words that I could not understand, but the message was hard to miss. I had stopped listening to the man on TV. I was thinking.

Thinking of death. Thinking of my neighbor. A kind man; a happy husband; a loving father. Always eager to share with us videos of his children riding their bicycles, pictures of dishes his wife cooked, and big bars of chocolate to reward us for being an attentive audience. A kind man who was dead now.

Death and kind; those two words should not be in the same sentence. Yet, my father used them together. He told me the news. We watched the news on television every evening at 8pm. It was rarely good and I was happy that it was about places far away and people I didn’t know. “I have bad news”, father said. Our neighbor was killed today. It was not a kind death. I waited for 8pm to understand.

I watched and listened but couldn’t understand. The well-dressed people at the desk were shaking their heads. The man with the glazed eyes was repeating the same words, “I shot him. Dead…” The rest of his words sounded like a nursery rhyme. Father was still upset, yelling at no one in particular. He told me to go to bed early for there will be a funeral tomorrow.

Our kind neighbor’s wife is seated on the front row. Her black hat bends downwards and upwards with the movement of her head. I know she is crying. Everyone is crying. I stretch my neck till it hurts to find his children, my friends. I really want to tell them sorry. I can’t see them, so I focus on what I can see, the coffin.

 

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