(From: Creative Writing Prompts)
Her laugh broke the silence and everyone turned to stare. Aware of the disapproving glares, her cheeks reddened involuntarily. She hadn’t meant to laugh, it was just something she did when she was nervous, as she was at this moment, but laughing at a funeral was inappropriate and disrespectful, even for her.
She was not known for her good judgment, and she often had her head in the clouds, she lived a life full of creativity, a trait that she had not inherited from her mother who pinched her, hard, reminding her to contain herself, and causing tears to well-up in her eyes. Fitting, seeing as she was at a funeral. Her father’s funeral.
Sandra had never met her father, and so the assistance of the pinch was needed for the tears to flow. What she did know about her father was minimal, and was certainly no reason for any mourning of his death. She knew that he had been an alcoholic. She knew that every time he drank he beat her mother black and blue. She knew that the minute he found out her mother was pregnant he had up and left, and had never came back. She could tell that he was not overly popular, the church service held only a handful of people, most of which appeared to be fellow drinkers that her father had probably met over the years. An older man, with ragged clothes and greying hair, was unconscious in the back row and had begun to snore rather loudly, which had led to Sandra’s inappropriate laughter, and her mothers subsequent pinch.
She sat up straight and listened as a woman she had never seen speak of a gentle and caring man, a supporter, and a provider, a loving person with a heart of gold. Sandra thought this woman must have entered the wrong service. In all the stories Sandra had heard about her father, and there were not many, the words caring, kind, and gentle were never used. Her mother had never told her much about him other than how it was ‘better that he was gone.’ She was not a very open woman when it came to emotions, she tended to bottle them up inside and shoo they away as insignificant when they were displayed openly. The bits of information she had gathered came from other family members, and based on their opinions, her mother’s attitude was justified. Though it may have been ‘better’ that he was gone, Sandra knew that her mother must have loved him deeply, because in the seventeen years of Sandra’s life her mother had never remarried or seriously dated any another man. There were a few nights out here and there, but for the most part Sandra’s mother went to work and came home, period.
Sandra sometimes felt sorry for her mother. Sure, she seemed content with her life, she liked her job as a nurse, and she provided for them well enough, but Sandra thought she must get rather lonely with no companion other than her whimsical daughter, whom she often seemed to misunderstand. She had no close friends, no hobbies, and no interests outside of her work and home life. Sandra would often turn down invitations from friends in order to stay home with her mother because she feared that her mother might get depressed being alone, even though she knew deep down that her mother was quite content being on her own Sandra felt as if she owed her mother her company.
As the woman at the microphone finished her fraudulent speech music began to play faintly in the background. Sandra looked over at her mother and found her with tear soaked cheeks. Squeezing her hand she whispered to Sandra, “This was ‘our’ song.” and she closed her eyes drifting away to another time and place. It was the first time Sandra had ever seen her mother show real emotion and she couldn’t help but wonder if there had been a time when she had been happy with her father, clearly they must have been in love. She listened to the words of the song as they grew louder, it spoke of a lone solider roaming the world in search of his long-lost love and dying without ever finding her, Sandra thought it was a deep and somewhat disturbing song to call ‘our song’. Looking back at her mother Sandra saw a smile come across her face. She took Sandra’s hand calmly and they left the church in silence.
On the car ride home her mother looked at her, and simply said, “It’s better that he is gone.”