Pity smiles as I walk through the doors.
I hesitate, my eyes avoiding the far wall of the room.
My younger cousins standing together,
I force a smile of my own, aching to embrace them.
One last squeeze before mom releases my hand...
A mixture of tears soaks my shoulder.
I force my feet to move toward the open casket, as the room begins to slightly spin.
I feel an arm around my waist, damp tissue in my clenched fist...
All sounds fade except the faint sniffling and warm buzzing in my head.
Her pale skin is now in plain sight.
Two more slow steps, now just inches away.
My feet glued in place, legs feel weak.
My eyes are locked on her still face, trying and failing to stop myself, I reach out.
Reluctant fingertips graze her icy cheek, and all at once I break.
There's no stopping the tears I've been holding in. I stare, sobbing.
Replaying memories of years back...months back...last week.
Her laugh plays in my head on repeat, her voice.
I imagine her with her usual bright red lips, instead of the pale pink they painted them today.
Breaking my silent revery, my grandfather comes to say goodbye.
Forming a halfcircle around him, we listen to his heartbreaking words,
echoing above the sounds of grief...this is all too surreal.
One last glance before I turn toward the exit and take my first step, preparing for the next day...
The preacher spoke sweet words, laughter and tears filled the dismal area between those walls.
We marched out into the grass. We drove our cars in single file to the cemetery,
all in what was seemingly the blink of an eye.
Now, staring at the freshly turned earth, in a lost gaze,
nothing to hear aside from the wind shaking the leaves, time stops for a moment.
Just for a second..and sometimes, forever.