Short-Story.Me!

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Featured Stories Foxmead Funeral

Foxmead Funeral

E-mail Print
Tell others about this story! Over 300 choices.

“...And take a left on Colborne Street, it should be at the end of the road.” Miriam said, refolding the map carefully. Laying it out on the freshly ironed crease of her sharp, black dress, she turned towards her reflection in the car window. She looked as beautiful as she was sad. A quick glance to the other two women in the car would show that they were no different. Their clothing was pressed into perfect seams and their hair pulled into tight, perfect knots atop their heads.

Apart from the crinkling of the map and the occasional question - ‘do I take a right here?’ ‘No keep going’ - the driver was the first to say much else after the hour long trip.

“This must be it.” She said, slowing the car down to try and get a better look at the building. Old and small, the church wasn’t the prettiest historical building. But the parking lot was overflowing, forcing the woman to park further down the street. .

“Foxmead is such a tiny place. I didn’t even know there were this many cars in the entire town” the woman in the back spoke, glaring at a young man - in jeans of all things - making his way towards the front doors of the church.

“Anne was loved by everyone,” Miriam spoke up, shooting down the bitter lady before she could continue her rant. “By everyone in this town especially.”

“‘Everyone in this town’? All, what, seventeen of them?” The driver mused, as she turned off the car and set the parking brake, making the girls give a small snort in agreement.

The three of them made their way out of car, careful not to step in the mud puddles that were scattered along the unkempt sidewalk that lead to the building. Outpacing the others, Miriam found herself far ahead as she entered the church.

The whole scenario was different for Miriam than it was for the others. Despite Anne being co-workers and friends with all of them, Anne had been Miriam’s desk partner. The two of them spent more time together than they did with their own spouses.

Stepping into the church, Miriam took a deep breath and sighed. The florescent lights lining the ceiling seemed to be as old as the building, giving off a dim glow and barely illuminating the entrance.

“Welcome to St. John's United Church” A man said, startling her. Miriam hadn’t noticed the round faced man who had been standing silently in the corner up until that moment. Judging by his attire, he was the reverend or minister or whatever this branch of Church had. “If you are here for the Anne Griffin memorial service, just follow those stairs up to the second floor. Though I cannot guarantee there are any seats left.”

The merry balding man chuckled to himself and turned away. Miriam resisted the urge to roll her eyes and instead directed her vision over to the small, ornamental table at the bottom of the staircase. It was covered with pictures and items that she recognized as being from Anne’s youth and, at the very end of the table, a massive card was set up.

“Don’t forget to sign that before you leave,” the man spoke up again.

Miriam, without looking at him, nodded absentmindedly and approached the table. Stepping up to it, she noticed that the only writing utensil that laid on the table was an old red marker. The printing that adorned it had worn away from years of use. When she picked it up it was sticky, obviously from being stored alongside the glue sticks and glitter for the children’s arts and crafts. Even the neatest writing on the card looking childish and pathetic in the thick, faded, red marks.

“Absolutely ridiculous.” She mumbled, but loud enough, apparently, for the man to hear.

“Something wrong, ma’am?”

“Actually, there is.” She snapped, spinning on her heel to face him “This. Is. Ridiculous! Who’s idea was it to even hold the funeral here? The damned place is falling apart as we speak! Not to mention that there’s nowhere near enough room!”

“Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to calm down.” He said, looking taken aback.

“Calm down? I’m speaking the truth! Anne would have never wanted this. She would have wanted a proper funeral where she lived: in the city. God, she deserved so much more than this. She didn’t even go to church!” Miriam threw her hands up in frustration.

“I’m afraid that’s where you’re wrong,” the man said quietly, keeping his voice polite.

“What?”

“If you really knew Anne, you’d understand that there would be no way to encompass everything that she would have wanted into one measly funeral. All we can do is give closure to those still alive. There was so much more she deserved, including the rest of her life.” His voice went solemn. “But this is what Anne would have wanted.”

Before she could snap at him again he held his hand out in defence.

“Yes, Anne no longer lived in Foxmead. But it was always her plan to return.”

“Oh? And why exactly would she have wanted that?” Miriam asked doubtfully.

The man gestured to the horse saddle set out on display. The brown leather was well worn and a number of the straps were broken. Surrounding it were pictures of a young girl - a young Anne - smiling, while holding different coloured ribbons and trophies alongside different horses.

“She wanted to continue the family business. That horse farm meant the world to her.”

Miriam wanted to object, but she couldn’t. He was right. She could recall days where Anne would go on for hours about her beloved horses.

“When she visited her parents, she always attended church.” The man continued. Miriam blinked in surprise. She didn’t know that. “She used to be in every church choir. When the church would hold productions, she was the leading force behind it. She may not have been overly religious, but this church was part of her home.”

Miriam watched the man for a moment, trying to blink back tears.

“If you want this to be better for Anna, then make it that way.” He said, voice no more than a whisper. Putting a firm hand on her shoulder, he looked her in the eye and gave her a sharp nod before making his way up the stairs.

At that point, the tears rolled freely down her cheeks. That is, until the front doors swung open.

“Oh there you are Miriam! You would not believe this. My stiletto heel sunk into the mud and this weakling couldn’t even pull me out. I’m telling you, this place is a real dump.”

“I’m sure you’ll get used to it.” Miriam mumbled.

“What?”

“It’s a lovely church. Quaint. Now, I don’t want to hear another complaint from you today, especially about this funeral, got it?” she snapped.

The two women from the car looked at her in confusion but said nothing as Miriam motioned for them to go up the stairs. Miriam turned to follow them, but before she did, she fished some pens out of her purse. Gently placing them down on the tabletop, she picked up the marker and dropped it in the trash.

She looked up and made eye contact with the minister, who stood at the top of the stairs. He bowed his head slightly and gave her a warm smile.

The tears continued to flow from her eyes, but she made no move to stop them.

I am a primarily a playwright studying at Ryerson University in Toronto ON.    I am trying to write as much as I can and get it to as many readers as possible.

 

Sign Up for Short-Story.me Info!




Featured Stories

Written by: Saul Greenblatt
Art and Amy Rollins drove along a desert road in the southwest.  “There’s something serene about the desert.  I love... Read more..



Buy Featured Story Placement