Julie sat motionless in the car. Watching as the people she knew walked heavy footed through the large entryway, etched lines of mournful bitterness drawn across their faces; tears gently trying to rub them away. She hated being here. She hated why she was here. Her eyes darted briefly to her mother, who had long since allowed the grip of grief to strangle the last ounce of strength out of her heart which showed in the shakiness of her hand clutching the tissue soaked in the memories of a father she once had. She looked away almost as she had looked. It was never just seeing pain that cause Julie to hide from most people; it was being able to feel it. That’s part of why she hated being here. She knew the moment she walked into that building, meant to serve as a place of refuge for so many, she would only feel the excruciating pain and loneliness of everyone. She caught her fathers’ eyes in the rearview mirror, and could tell that he had slipped away to some far off place. The glazed over look she knew so well, which usually happened when the world wasn’t revolving around him. She felt the familiar anger swell up in the pit of her stomach but before she could act on it, everyone was filing out of the car, joining the heavy footers through the entryway into gods house. She paused just before entering, allowing the sun to warm her eyelids and breathing in one last belly of nature.
As she and her family shuffled dismally up the aisle Julie’s gaze settled restlessly on her grandma, who was sitting in the first seat of the first pew closest to the man who would never again stroke her hair, or caress her skin. She wanted to run to her, squeeze her and cry but all she could think about was the day her mother got the phone call...
‘Dad’s had a heart attack’ kept replaying in her mind forcing her chest to tighten even more. She remembered the words hitting her like a hundred small chards of ice piercing her heart over and over again. She saw herself crouched down, frozen in the frame of her closet door, strangling her end of the receiver as if it would stop the bleeding from the fresh wound that had just been opened. She had felt a shift earlier in the day and had known something wasn’t right. This happened to her quite often, and yet she still tried to ignore it. The air in the house that day though was laden with a quiet chaos. She remembered when she finally had made it upstairs to see her mother she was already gone. She had realized she was alone with nothing but ‘Circle of Life’ playing on the radio, which now made her see the irony.
Her eyes started to burn with tears remembering all the times he had pulled quarters out of her ears, or when he drove her and her brother and sister to church in his peach Lincoln continental, and the smell of his crown and coke breath. She knew she would never again hear her grandpa’s voice or feel his hugs. As the service ended and the guests that had come to say their last goodbyes started to reminisce, Julie found herself walking towards the casket. She had never seen a dead person, and as she peered over the edge, she realized the man that lay in it was no longer her grandpa. She stared for what felt like hours, tracing every line in his face with her eyes, never once seeing him. As she turned to walk away, she came face to belly with her father. ‘Why don’t you touch him’ he said, with a sort of amused undertone. She turned, took a deep breath and as she decided against it, her father grabbed her hand and laid it on the mans face. Fear took over her entire body and she jerked her hand back so hard she hit her father. The tears that had been for her grandpa were now for her. She started shaking and crying, causing a slight scene then turned and sprinted out of the church and on to the grass where she collapsed with such forceful intent it almost seemed as though she was hoping it would wrap her up and protect her. She lay there, looking up at the sky, quivering over touching a man with no soul and wondered where her grandpas had gone. Just as soon as she had started wondering, her body was overcome with such a calm, warmness, that it sent tingles to the very tips of her toes. She knew, right then and there, he was with her and allowed each tear to fall for him to catch.
Created: Aug 04, 2012AvaG Document Media