Saturday, September 13, 2014

The funeral.

Under the stained glass  window of  the funeral home, the coffin covered in beads and knickknacks seems as small and insubstantial as that of a child's.

A brother comes up and says  that he had little contact with the deceased for many years and it was only in recent years  that he had come to see her more often.  He had some memories of her as a child. She loved  horses. She had her own horse and when she had a baby she had named it after that horse.  He had thought that they lived  a normal family life in a quiet rural province but in fact this sense of normalcy had been proved mistaken. He  had later  found out that  the deceased was not his full sister.  She  had been born out of wedlock in a period between one of  his mother's other  marriages. His younger sister also had another father.  He also found out that his uncle had been the subject of court martial  in the Second World War.

A young woman who  looks as if she manages a complex love life says she has grown up with the deceased in her life. She had always admired  the woman's style so she was wearing all her arm bling in memory of her. She then sings Bag Lady by  Erica Badu accompanied by a man on an  electric guitar.

A Polynesian care worker comes  up trim in jeans and a sweatshirt. She has brought a small ukulele with her wrapped in a cloth and says that she had spoken to the deceased many times since she  had come to live at the home.   The deceased often asked her  if she  would go to heaven.  The care worker always told her, of course you will,  you have  so many friends.  She and the deceased had  sung  songs of praise together.   She will  sing one now, the one  she had taught the deceased. She unwraps the ukulele and sings a sweet song in an surprisingly  thin off key voice.

Two young mothers and a small girl come up. One of the mothers says she had been fascinated by the deceased from the moment she first moved  into  the neighbourhood and   had seen her fossicking in  a rubbish bin for treasures.  Among other things, the deceased  had taught her about lending.  Once the deceased asked her for $20. She  replied that she could not give it to her as  she did not want money lending to come between them. Yet  one day she had run into the deceased outside the supermarket and had commented on the variety and nutritious  value of her groceries, where upon the deceased had gone into a nearby cafe to borrow a knife to dissect a wheel of  brie and divide it between them. She had found out that the deceased had been forcibly separated from the new born baby she had given birth to  when she was staying in England as a young woman.  The deceased always had this child  on her mind and was very damaged by this separation. Maybe this is why she always had a pram and pushed it around, empty of a child but full of treasures.

The other young mother says that she had been given a suitcase by the deceased. She lifts up  a retro yellow suit case high into the air. She has  taken the suitcase around the world with her, it is  so easy to spot on a carousel. Her young daughter has a large purple plastic creature  on wheels that she has also been given and reportedly  loves even though it is plastic. The little girl tries to  lift her toy off the ground to show everyone.

A  Buddhist nun comes forward  on thick oedematous ankles supported by sturdy sandals.  The spiritual life encases her as solidly as  a large wooden block. The gifts she received of 'borrowed' library books on the Buddha, the anger and pain of the deceased are mentioned.  She says that they had spoken of many things and much had been shared even the fact that one of  the deceased's lovers had  urinated on her.

At the back of the chapel, spilling out of  the entrance, the deceased's friends and lovers_ lenders and borrowers all, stand smoking and silent in the warm autumn day.

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