The Service


PHOTO PROMPT © Yvette Prior

 

All was set for the service.

Programs lounged on chairs in the next room. The adequately melancholy music played. Discrete tissue boxes rested at either end of the first row.

She waited as heels clicked on marble and black fabrics swished and the somber faces of acquaintances, rearranged for the occasion, nodded at her. She endured the hugs and shoulder pats and too-long handshakes. She breathed through the words.

The room quieted.

She rose and stared at the ornate urn on the dais before turning to face the living.

“You should know,” she began, “that Dad was not a good man.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

42 thoughts on “The Service

    • Ah, yes it does … and for all too many–though hopefully for not THAT many–the reality is that what others may think of their parent, isn’t what they know their parent had been. Some keep silent to not rock the boat even after a parent’s death. Sometimes to protect others, sometimes because it may seem easier than to manage both loss and people’s challenges of that loss; and yet there are other times when what one could not say before, one may feel liberated to clear up. And, if so, well, it’s her truth and I hope she’ll be supported for it. … Great comment, Dale! 🙂

    • Thanks, Lisa. If this was her reality, she surely should at the least have the option of speaking it. I know all too often there are those who’d frown on ‘speaking ill of the dead’, but if there was enough ill while they were living, perhaps there’s no less a true eulogy to tell people one’s truth, when one can. No doubt for a price, but sometimes the price of staying silent is higher. As too many people who grew up with parents who “weren’t good people” know. Thank you for the comment!

    • Indeed! And yet the need, sometimes, to speak truth, that surpasses the need to maintain the status quo, or that calls for shock in order to shake said status quo. …
      Great comment! Thank you! Na’ama

    • I hear you and I think that waiting would be as fair a choice for someone to make, if that would’ve been what they preferred. It appears that for this person, at that time, in that gathering, with her particular history with her father, there were truths that needed to be said and perhaps couldn’t wait for another time. But yes, it would not be without a cost, whichever route one chose. We humans are messy beings, aren’t we? Thank you for the comment!

    • I guess we would need to know more about her … and about him … though one wonders, why would she really really not like her father, sufficiently to need for this to be the first thing she says? Perhaps SHE is a very bad and ungrateful person, but perhaps HE was not a good person to her, even while others (or some others) might have though seen a different side of him. Perhaps he was abusive toward her. Perhaps he was cruel or uncaring. Perhaps he was a criminal who escaped justice. Who knows…

    • Thank you! Perhaps not what others were expecting, though I do wonder, as is perhaps not so rarely the case, if there would be some in that crowd who’d take a deep breath and think to themselves: “finally … about time people stopped pretending he wasn’t who he led others to believe her was …” 😉
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Na’ama

    • One would think it should! What to, however, isn’t quite as clear … Will many in the crowd gasp in righteous indignation or will people in that crowd take a deep breath and think “about time someone stopped pretending he was a good man…” Or, perhaps, will there be some of both? 🙂
      Thank you for the comment, Keith!

    • Well, I hope that the gasp, held a mixture of: “Finally” and “I knew it!” and “I had no idea!” and “Oh, it must’ve been so hard for her” and “This one’s got gumption” as well as the predictable “How CAN she?” and “This isn’t the time or place” and so on …
      Generally speaking, one does need to try to find something nice to say about the departed, but sometimes there may be little to say that isn’t to set the record straight, and that, too, is truth.

      Thank you for the comment!
      Na’ama

  1. Not knowing what brought this situation about makes me wonder whether the departed was on hundred per cent deserving of such a statement, delivered when people had shown up to pay their respects. But then there is also a sense hypocrisy being indicated by rearranged facial expressions. An intriguing tale that could expand into something much bigger.

    • Ah, how perceptive, Jilly! Yes, what is often social etiquette (someone might come to a memorial service because they have known the deceased or know someone they are survived by, but not necessarily feel grief or much sadness, yet know that the expected countenance is that of somber sorrow), can also be something else … as in, not REALLY being that sorry but feeling like this is how one ought to behave as to not make waves … So, who knows what the atmosphere in that room would be after that announcement: Shock? Relief? Nodding? Horror? Confusion? Mixture?
      The story holds a few more stories in it, I think, too … 🙂

  2. That is an excellent twist, and you prepared it beautifully. “Adequately melancholy music” is just one of the delicate pieces of foreshadowing. When I went back and re-read the story, I could see at least half a dozen choices of word that whispered “Something wrong here…”
    That’s very good, subtle writing, Na’ama!

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