It was recently National Best Friend’s Day. So in homage to the day I have written a short story entitled, “The Day Of The Funeral” which from the title is obviously quite a sad story. On a lighter note before I get onto the story Happy National Best Friend Day to my own bestie Sarah! 🙂
It had all happened so quickly. She had spoken to him only the night before and he had seemed in high spirits. The afternoon after his sister rang to say that he had died that morning of a sudden heart attack. Seconds following the phone call, Anita had fell to the floor in shock and with her eyes brimming with tears. Her boyfriend Justin rushed in from the kitchen and had took her into his arms, still unaware of what was happening. Just the fact that his girlfriend was a mess. A mess of mascara, tears and stray lashes. A mess of emotions and pain.
“It’s Alex … he’s … he’s dead.”, she managed to croak out through her tears and Justin pulled her tighter into his chest.
Any other time the warmness of his t-shirt snuggled into her face would feel comforting but right now nothing could comfort her as her mind span with thoughts and memories of Alex and hurt for the wife and family he had left behind. It all seemed too wrong. He was only thirty-nine.
Sitting at the Mass service with Justin’s hand in hers two days later her mind was still swimming with thoughts. The Priest’s words were all a blur. In fact the whole time since she had heard he had died had been a blur. Time moving slowly. Like a seemingly unending misery. And her mind had spun right back to the very beginning. When they had met on the first day of secondary school. She remembered how she was sitting with her book. She believed it was something by Truman Capote but she couldn’t remember exactly which story it was now. Mostly she was trying to stay in the background. The buzz and excitement of everyone getting to know each other was a bit overwhelming for a 14-year-old girl of a shy disposition. He had walked in and took the seat beside her. Dread had filled Anita’s mind. That regular shyness conflict of wanting to talk with someone, get to know them yet not wanting to because it seemed too hard and would probably go all wrong anyway. To her delight he took his own book out. One of Terry Pratchett’s books. And he began to read. Like most shy people this was bound to be a slow-burner but over time they had got to know each other. A sense of alienation bringing them close together. She remembered a day when they had been listening to The Smiths and imaging they were back in the olden days as his coffin was brought from the Church to the sounds of This Charming Man. That probably just about fitted him. He had this way of charming you into getting his way or getting out of bother. It was also his shy charm which had attracted his wife Lindsay in the first place and they had two children together, Luke, now five, and Kurt, now two. Anita was godmother to Kurt, his sister obviously was godmother to Luke.
As she watched the coffin go down into the ground and Lindsay throwing the first bit of clay on top of it she felt the raindrops begin to fall onto her ear. She had heard that it rained when a corpse was a good person. She had heard only the good die young. It all seemed true for there was always something about Alex which was inherently good. People would say it now but she had always thought it. He was the only person not to constantly bombard her with questions about when are you getting married? He was never dismissive of her cohabiting relationship with Justin because he was married like a few smug married people had been. He knew it was her version of forever and he respected that and vice versa. He had came to see her when her mother had died and had stayed for hours comforting her. He wasn’t perfect. He had an impatient streak at the doctors, dentists, etc … and he always forgot to give Cds back. But at heart he was one of life’s good guys and Anita was honoured to be able to call him her best friend. She walked over to Lindsay and wrapped her arms around her.
“It’s going to be alright Lind. He’s looking down on you and the boys. He’ll get you all through this.”