It was a long line into the dimly lit room full of strangers and a couple of people I might have known. I heard somebody say the name of someone I love very much, and I almost went in. However, the man holding the door for me did not exactly direct me to the correct wake. I was a little lost and confused so I waited outside for a little bit. I was on my phone and I texted Emily to let her know I was here. “I am kinda lost lol” “Aren’t there only two wakes going on today.” “Yeah…lol” I looked around some more. I did not want to have to deal with the embarrassment of attending the wrong person’s wake.
The people that hovered around me decided to move, and rather than calling attention to myself by noticeable standing alone, I decided I needed to enter one of the rooms. I picked the one farthest from me. I was right. I skipped taking the card and signing the book. I was here for Emily and my cousin Lenny. At the front of the line was Jim. He was staring at me. I wanted to stare back, but I couldn’t. This was not the place. It is never the right place. Instead I met his glance and I shyly waved and then looked away again. I do not think he even saw me wave because he did not wave back. He just kept intently staring at me. I am madly in love with him. Had I entered the room earlier I might have been next to him in line. He stared at me until he got up to the casket. There he respectfully kneeled and said a prayer. I have not seen him pray in a long time.
He looked as handsome as he was when I first met him. A lady sitting down in the chairs next to the isle recognized me as “Monica’s daughter.” She was a customer of hers and I briefly said hi, although I forgot her name and did not even recognize her. I looked around and did not see Jim. He must have already left. I looked at the ground and waited for the slow line to move a few more inches forward.
I heard a whisper that said my name. It was Jim’s voice, but he was talking to someone else. It must have been somebody I had known if he was talking to them about me. He said bye to this person, and swiftly went up to me and squeezed my upper body. I didn’t even get a chance to see his face. I just buried my head on his shoulder. I couldn’t feel anything. All I felt was his soft shoulder and I couldn’t even tell if he was even touching me. I pulled his chest close, but he abruptly pulled away and left in a single motion with the words, “I like the haircut,” as he walked away from me. He didn’t even look at me. Could I not look at him?
He was blurry. He was like a ghost. It was like he was not even there. He appeared just how I remembered him back in 2009. Am I going insane? Did I really hug him? He was hardly there. I didn’t even get a chance to look in his eyes. He might have seen me, but I am dying to see him. It’s painful. It’s more painful than that night I almost died back in February.
The line inched forward bit by bit. Five minutes later I was almost in front of the urn. I was thankful that the body was cremated, because I did not feel like gazing upon a lifeless corpse who was the twin of my best friend’s mom. I did not feel up to imagining myself in that position is maybe a few years.
No one else knows that I might be sick. I am slowly going to appointments to run tests, and currently they are not very positive. I am not going to die though, I am going to live.
I kneeled in front of Patty and said a hail Mary. I continued in the line and shook hands with my cousin and his wife and everybody else, explaining who I was and that I was very sorry. I gave Em’s mom the biggest hug. Her mother-in-law died last week, her husband is in the hospital internally bleeding, and there lying in front of her was her deceased twin.
I met Emily sitting in the chairs, and I gave her a full box of tissues. She asked me if we can hang out this weekend and I assured her that I would be home all weekend. She sniffed a little. “Ok that sounds great.” “Ok…just let me know.” I checked my phone and I got a text from my uncle, Bruce.
It’s not his fault that he came later than me. I told him I was going meet there with him about that current time. Erin was with him and all of a sudden I was going through the whole line again introducing Bruce and Erin to people.
It was mechanical. It was over that quickly.
I felt empty, but I knew Emily must have felt emptier. I knew her mother must have felt emptiest.
I waited all day Saturday and finally called Emily around 4:00. She was exhausted. She went to the funeral, she got food afterword, and then she visited her father in the hospital. She told me that maybe we could do something today.
Today I woke up, texted her and never heard from her. I am worried. I might just drop frozen yogurt off at her doorstep. I do not even know if she eats that type of thing but whatever.
I better get going if I am going to do this.