funeral

Flash Fiction Friday: Moonlight Sonata

This week’s spark sentence came from Deanne M. Schultz. Make sure to check out her humorous writings after you leave a spark sentence in the comment section for next week’s flash fiction. If you’re confused, read this first.

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Man-in-ShowerThe shower water hissed down, echoing as it splashed in the tub. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata poured from the Kohler shower head, filling the bathroom with brooding tones. Patrick turned off the hot water faucet. There was no need to turn off the cold water — he never used it. He stepped out of the shower, rubbed a stiff, white towel through his hair and then wrapped it around his chest. With the music still playing, he stared at himself in the mirror and prepared himself for the long day to come. Beethoven always got him in the mood for a funeral.

His steel-blue eyes looked back at him, watching him shave, as if those eyes belonged to another person. He often caught sight of himself in the random reflection of a storefront window or a chrome-plated object  and didn’t recognize the refined man he had become. With slicked back, sandy brown hair, he was the spitting image of his father, only taller and more handsome. Patrick smiled at himself in the mirror, knowing how much that would have killed his proud father. If his father were still alive.

It was time to get ready. Patrick kissed the golden cross dangling from his chest, and moved to the bed. His pressed suit rested on top of the crisp, tucked-in sheets. He picked up the blazer, blacker than his irises without any of the sparkle, and placed it back down. What if he didn’t wear the suit today? Would that make him less qualified to bring another soul to his maker? There was no point in questioning that now. He had worn the same suit since his twentieth birthday. It was a symbol of his sacrifice and his wisdom. The others wouldn’t know how to relate to him if he went without it.

He buttoned up his black shirt, pulled up his black socks, and put the suit on. If he were to walk out now, he would look quite fashionable, if not on the dreary side, but there was still one more article he had to put on. He picked up his white collar from the chest of drawers and snapped it into place. The collar was meant to announce to the world that he had the answers, that he understood God’s will, but today that collar felt like a joke. He was no more certain of his faith than the hundreds of mourners who came to him after funerals, crying out “why?” Today he was going to sprinkle holy water on his last living relative, his younger brother, only twenty-seven years of age, and for that, no suit, no schooling, and no book could make him any more certain. All he could tell himself were the words he used so many times before but now seemed hollow: it is all part of God’s plan.

Patrick left his apartment, bible in hand, and walked down to the cemetery. It was a crisp fall day with barren tree branches gray in the horizon. It was a good day as any for a funeral. He hummed Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and tried to think if it as any other day.

Mini Memoir Monday: Heading Home

This week’s mini memoir was written by David Pagan. You can check out his fantastic blog, According to Dave, and read about the ups and downs of being a writer. If you would like to submit a mini memoir, please follow this link. Without further ado:

David Pagan

It’s 7:08 on December 5th. I’m in seat 8F, next to Debbie. She is watching “A Knight’s Tale” on her iPad as I type on mine. It’s dark outside. I find myself reflecting on all that has happened.

Ten days ago, I sat alone on a flight from SFO to DFW, heading eventually to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where my father was being kept alive in the ICU. I fully expected him to be dead by the time I arrived, But God had other plans. He allowed me the chance to see my dad alive, albeit gravely ill. On Tuesday, I was able to talk with him and tell him I loved him. He was able to respond and mouthed that he loved me too. Did he really hear me? Did he really say I love you? I suppose I’ll never know for sure, but I choose to believe that he did.

His health steadily declined over the rest of the week, until finally, on Friday, November 30th, he was no longer taking nourishment through his tube, an indication that his body was beginning to shut down. It was then that we, as a family, made a tough decision. Based on his repeated insistence over the years that he did not want to be kept alive artificially, we all agreed that it was time to take him off the ventilator. We did so, and about an hour or so later, he passed away about as gently as is possible aside from being at home in bed asleep. His life was now defined:

2/25/1933 – 11/30/2012

What is written above is what now appears on the temporary grave marker at the Fort Smith National Cemetery. All that my dad was is now fully defined by the “dash”. There will be nothing more of his life except the legacy that he leaves behind. A wife, three children, grand kids and great grand kids. When taken as a whole, that which he has left would make him proud, I think.

So, as I feared, I am heading home without a father, and with a mother hurting from a pain worse than having died herself, and a future in complete and utter disarray, despite our presence. By tomorrow night, after my sister leaves for home, she will be alone for the first time since she lost her husband of 58 years. None of us knows how she will do. But I do believe that at some point she will be okay.