Chapter 3 The Funeral
I decided to add another chapter from the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2010. I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment.
It slowly sank in over the few days after my mom died that my life would be different. I spent a lot of time alone, in Joey’s room, with a book I pretended to take interest in. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor made a point to not leave me alone for long without coming in a ensuring me that everything was going to be fine. I lay on the top bunk with the book open on my stomach and thought about the day I found her. Mom was a tough woman; she never got sick and always kept everything straight no matter what, so seeing her on the floor was shocking to me. She cried sometimes when we talked about her mom and dad and coming here fromItalybut she wasn’t very emotional. Her stories always made me feel like I was loved by my grandparents even though they were dead and I didn’t remember them. They died two years apart when I was two and four. One thing that she had trouble talking about without breaking down was missing the funerals. Dad told her we didn’t have the money to send her so her sister, Aunt Rose, buried them over inItaly. My Aunt Rose still lives there and that was another thing I heard my father tell her we didn’t have money for, phone calls toItaly. “Write her a letter if you have things to tell her.” My mom never argued, she just remained quiet which always made me wonder what was swirling in her head.
The biggest thing I missed already was when she would fall asleep in my bed with me. We would go up to my room and after I was tucked in under the sheets and blankets, I would ask her questions about anything. “Does Dad have to work tomorrow? Can we go camping with theTaylor’s this summer? Do you wish you would have had a girl instead of me?” She would answer question after question the best she could. She knew nothing about sports so she told me to ask dad those questions. If she got tired while answering, she would lay down next to me in her clothes. That’s what I wanted, to have her close to me. I couldn’t hug her outside of the house anymore because my friends told me that wasn’t cool, so I hugged her at night. She would rub my head while we talked and every once in a while, she would fall asleep before me. I felt so much love from her and I think she liked the talking because dad never wanted to talk much. On the nights he was home, he wanted the house quiet so he could read. No TV or music was allowed while he had the paper.
Four days after she died, Joey and I noticed my dad’s car in the driveway as we walked home from practice. We had been checking on it in Landry’s parking lot all weekend but it never moved. There was also a big dumpster parked in the street in front of the house. Mrs. Taylor was waiting on the front porch and as we walked by she said, “Dominic, come in here, I need to talk to you.”
After seeing the car I really got kind of excited to go home. I thought about my room and my bed. Joey’s house was much nicer and Mrs. Taylor took great care of me but I still felt out of place. As much as I liked her, I hated asking Suzanna if I could use the bathroom in the morning when she was getting ready for school. Mr. Taylor hinted a few times that I should just live there since I was getting along so good but I didn’t feel right. I was eating their food, and using their stuff and not paying them back by having Joey over to my house.
“Come and sit down over her Dominic.” she told me after I dropped my book bag and football stuff in the foyer. “Mr. Taylor and I talked to your dad and we all think you should sleep here for a little longer.”
“Thanks for the offer Mrs. Taylor but I’m ready to go back home now. My dad probably misses me and I got chores to do.”
“Your dad does miss you and wants you to visit him but he’s busy with work.”
“I can stay by myself when he’s at work. I did it when mom went to the store.” I pleaded.
“Dominic, us adults made a decision that the best place for you is here.” There was a long pause. “Now your dad is waiting for you to go say hi, but I want you back here at five for dinner, OK?”
“OK.” I said. I got up and walked home. I was excited to see my old man but really wanted to be home for good.
The front screen door was propped open and I could hear talking inside as I climbed the porch steps, “Hi, dad!” I said, as I walked through the front door.
“Hey Dominic, you been being good at theTaylor’s?” He was on his knees in the living room and all the furniture was moved out. The carpet was rolled to one side and he was pulling up the other side. Mr. Landry was helping him.
“I’ve been real good dad.” I told him.
“Good. Bill grab that corner there.” My dad said.
“Do you want me to help dad?” I asked.
“No boy, go on up to your room and get a few things. You talked to Mrs. Taylor right? You’re going to stay there for a while.”
“Yeah I talked to her. I would rather stay here though.” I said, knowing it might not go over well with him. As soon as it left my lips I regretted it.
“I said go get your stuff together.” He said. “Ok, pull that corner, Bill, let’s see if it comes up.”
I wandered through the dining room and poked my head in the kitchen, it was clean, not a trace of sugu anywhere. I never knew that my dad knew how to clean the kitchen so good. Mom always did that. I went up stairs and climbed on my bed, it felt great to be there. I thought about what it was like when my Mom would sleep by me, or take care of me when I was sick and missed school. It looked as if the police had gone through my things, but nothing was missing. The bank I made in wood shop class was on the dresser and my toys were still piled up in the toy box my dad made in the garage. He wanted to throw my GI Joes out last year, he said I was too big to be playing with them, but mom and I talked him out of it.
At five I gathered up a few clothes and went down stairs, “Dad, I’m going to theTaylor’s now.” I said out loud not knowing where he was in the house. “Dad?” I yelled as I wandered through the dining room into the living room. The carpet was gone and the furniture was set back in its place just like before. My eyes focused on the dark stain on the wood where my mom laid and I prayed over her. Tears filled my eyes and I felt like I might throw up. I remembered seeing Mr. Taylor pushing on her chest and breathing in her mouth while my father walked home from Landry’s.
“Did you get your stuff boy?” My father said, bringing me back to reality. He had walked in from the kitchen and had a beer in his hand. “You better get over there before dinner; I know you want to eat.”
I just stood there staring at the dark stain. “What are you staring at?” he said.
“That stain, is that blood or sugu?” I asked him.
“That’s sugu boy. Now quit talking crazy and get over there, Mrs. Taylor is waiting.”
I continued to keep an eye on my dad’s car over the next couple days but it never moved. The dumpster had been taken away andLincoln Streetwas back to normal.
On Friday, Suzanna got up and went to school like normal but Joey and I stayed home. The funeral was later that morning. Mr. Taylor was home too and we ate breakfast together and then we put on our church clothes. When we got to St. Stan’s Church I expected to see a casket in the front by the altar but all that was up there was a fancy table with a dish on top of it. “Where’s my mom?” I whispered to Mr. Taylor when we sat down in the front row.
“That’s you mothers remains Dominic. Your father had her cremated.” He said, nodding to the table and fancy glass dish. I looked around and saw some of my mom’s friends sitting behind us, but I didn’t see my dad. Father Ted came out of his office on the right side of the altar, stopped and bowed toward Jesus as he passed in front of the cross, and then came straight over to me.
“You’ve endured a great loss young man, but know that Jesus is with you each step if the way.” he said.
“Thank you, father.” I didn’t really know if a thank you was in order but my mother told me to say thanks when ever Father Ted spoke to me.
“Your mother is in heaven, let that ease the pain you feel for her.” I sat silent and thought of my mother and how much she enjoyed church. I could never understand why.
Just before the funeral started, Suzanna rushed in and sat down by her mom. I heard her chatting about her boyfriend and how he won’t be around for long. “She goes through boyfriends so fast; I don’t even learn their names.” Joey told me once.
I turned around and saw my dad walk in just before the music was going start. Father Ted looked at him as he walked by, but said nothing.
“Do you want to go sit by your father?” Mr. Taylor asked me. I just shook my head yes and got up.
The funeral was just like regular Sunday church except Father Ted talked about mom quite a bit. It was nice to hear all the nice things but I wish I knew some of them when she was alive so we could have talked.
When the funeral ended dad and stood up and walked to the back of the church. There wasn’t that many people there compared to other funerals I’d been too. As we walked out, everyone was patting my back, calling me a good boy and being really nice. Not that many people talked to dad, which was good because dad didn’t like to talk much. “That’s how your father deals with things, he clams up.” Mom often said when dad was in one of his quiet moods.
TheTaylor’s were waiting for me when we got to the bottom of the church stairs and as we walked toward them Mrs. Taylor turned and walked away. I thought it was kind of rude but would never question why she did that. When we got over to them, Mr. Taylor had a mean look on his face, “Sorry for your loss Terry.” Mr. Taylor said, and then he put his hand on my shoulder and guided me down the sidewalk toward the car. As we pulled out of the church, I saw my father still standing where he had been. He looked at the ground just like he was looking down the day mom died. He looked sad, which caused me get sad. My father was never sad.