Sweat trickled down the side of my face, making a subtle splash on the steaming hot gravel. I moved my left hand back and forth trying to wipe away the droplets. The sun beamed its strong powerful rays on me with no remorse. Flapping the Schlanker Funeral Home church fan through the air didn’t help much either. Tiny feet and antennae landed on me one by one, while the miniscule, yet pointy proboscis of mosquitoes punctured every inch of my body. Digging my claw like nails, into each bite made me resemble the deep red of a raspberry. Inhaling and exhaling slowly, the rich smell of fresh air colliding with the bland smell of death.
Death is a toxic virus that floated around in the air, and it was something I didn’t want to catch. My vibrant yellow daisy corsage was sticking me in the chest, which reminded me of not only happiness, but my great grandmother Mildred Daisy’s death. Each petal slowly fell to the ground and the smell slowly faded away. All around me looked like a swarm of darkness, taking over the bright blue sky, and the light gray gravel. It was actually just my friends and family, who were filled with sorrow.
I heard the loud clanking of buckles, the floppy church hats swaying though the air, the sound of each shoe hitting the ground and making a sizzle. For once I was separated from everything, I was connected with the world. “Chynadoll, is that you. Look at you, you so tall, and so grown looking”. I smiled, who is this person, I thought to myself. “You don’t remember me, I’m your Aunt Diane, me and your mom were besties when we were younger.” “Oh, yeah. Hi, Aunt Diane, I have to go we’ll catch up later. Love you.” I walked away from Aunt Diane, as fast as my long legs would take me.
Finding my way through the black maze, I bumped into my cousin Sierra. “Sierra, Oh my gosh! I’ve missed you so much.” I said. “I’ve missed you to, how are you.” Sierra replied. “Sad, but I’ll get over it”, I said. “Same, plus they made the funeral the day after Mother’s Day, which makes it even worse.” Sierra said sorrowfully. “Remember that time Granny Daisy sat us on her couch, and started telling us to pursue our dreams no matter what, and that time she gave all of her money to Mr. Jenkins, the homeless guy.” I could tell Sierra would break down any minute, it was just a waiting game. “Oh yeah, do you remember the time she called me a hippo “She was such a wonderful person, so kind, loving and she had a huge heart. I miss her so much.” My eyes started burning, and I felt my eyes filling with water. I knew, if I started crying, I would turn into the next hurricane, and destroy everything in my sight. Sierra looked into my eyes and I could tell she saw the pain, “and the time she called you and I hippo.” A small light chuckle slipped out my lips, which were covered in purple lipstick, to support Alzheimer’s.
Suddenly, music played over the loud speakers, and the crowd of blackness shifted forward. Our talk of good times was interrupted, with death, and sorrow. We trailed behind my uncle, following his strong scent of cigarettes, into the funeral home. One foot in front of the other, slow and steady.
The carpet inside the home was full of footprints, and I studied them each pair at a time. The crystal chandeliers, were elegant and reminded me of the one in my grandmother Daisy’s living room. I walked past my aunts and uncles, who were arguing about who would get what from Daisy, and past my nieces and nephews who sat playing with Barbie’s and trucks, having no clue what was going on. On my way to my seat I saw my grandma Daisy, and it broke my heart. She looked so different. At least she was well dressed, and had on her best gold, and diamonds, with her best wig as usual. She was surrounded by all white, which made her look innocent. It was good to see a more pure color that represented peace, instead of a dark color that represented death.
I took a seat in a rough cement like, rubber chair that forced me to sit up straight. To the right of me was my cousin Sierra, and to the left, a man who was an unknown entity. In the front five or six rows, were all the “important” family members, like Sierra, my mom, all my aunts, uncles, and then there was me. While in the back, were friends, and second or third cousins. There is a major caste system in my family. On top you had Daisy, then Rosemary (my grandma), Joyce, Arlene, and Miranie (my aunts). Under them you had all of their kids, and so on and so on. The lace on my black, floppy church hat, started to agitate me, as it itched the rounded tip of my nose, but I knew today wasn’t about me.
Finally, the music stopped, everything was silent, and my grandmother Reverend Rosemary began the service. “Lord we come to you today in the mighty name of Jesus, asking that you send angels down to bless our precious Daisy on her journey to heaven, we know that today is not just a funeral, yet is a celebration. I know that she was dear to all of our hearts, and the fact that she is gone is heartbreaking.” After Rosemary talked, everyone else got up and spoke on the scenario, and how wonderful a person Daisy was. After everything was done, I got to see Daisy one last time, and that was it.