You wake up on funeral day a jumble of nerves, hoping you got all your stuff laid out properly ahead of time. Laid out; now that’s funny!
Running late, you feel anxious. Gotta get there, gotta get there, gotta get there. 80 MPH seems just about right.
You arrive. You see all these faces, you know none, yet you know them all.
Your friend is in there. These are his friends, his relatives. His parents. There are a lot of them.
This sucks. You go in.
You think about how this is not your first time, how these places are starting to look familiar, how you know the procedure. You fucking feel comfortable here, you freak. You have the whole facade broken down to its component parts: the flow, the pink light bulbs, the earnest guys with their black suits they wear five days a week, directing the maccabre show. You watch them like you watch a car crash, wondering what it’s like to be them. The precious little guest book on a pedestal with the little light and the pull chain. At some point one of the earnest guys tugs the chain and it’s lights out on the guest book; he closes it and walks off and that’s when you realize you haven’t signed it yet.
“I’ll get around to signing that”, you thought. Just like you always said you’d meet him for dinner, you’d get caught up in a flurry of email, you’d visit him in his new home city. No, no, no and no.
You stroll by the casket, you take it all in. He looks great, for a dead person. He is not there; he is someplace else. But there he is. Hi Bil! This is funny to you, this show, this effort, this dogma, and then you look up and see the massive floral arrangement atop the casket with the plastic label affixed. It says, in a jewel-encrusted cursive font, “son”. You lose it.
Where do you go from there? You meet the family! You talk to his mom (Cassie) and his dad and his sisters, and you simultaneously admire them, and hate them, for looking exactly like him.
You make a second pass at the casket a couple hours later, and say goodbye. As you get up to leave the casket you are almost tackled by another roommate and asked to be there with her as she does the same. If it weren’t such a sad occasion you’d file this away in the all-time-greatest-moments file. You will anyway.
You go to his sister’s house, where you hang with friends from his and your life and share moments and sayings and talk about the past and the future and the present. You plan karaoke. You do not trade stock tips or talk about sports, you remember him and discuss obscure quotes from movies and comedy routines.
You read a toast from a dear friend (and yet another roommate) who could not be there. You call her before and after. She called five times throughout the day. When we did talk, it was more laughter than anything else.
Bil, where did you go? Why did you go?
What a day.