General Fiction posted April 12, 2017

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
About a funeral; should be obvious from first few paragraphs

A bad joke

by Sammy105

The house was filled with mourning. Sobbing, occasional crying, shaking heads, handkerchieves, black skirts, black shirts, black dresses filled the home. Ziti, tuna finger sandwiches, cheese and olives, spaghetti and meatballs lined the table. It was more for principle, out of tradition; not to fill stomachs, even though such was the plan.

Zoey sat in the middle of the couch, on the very edge, staring very deeply into what looked like a spot on the carpet. Aunts, uncles, friends, acquaintances would sit down next to her, take her hand, offer condolences. She politely accepted, but did not look away from the spot on the carpet. They took her hand; she did not resist, but did not turn her head to the right or left.

People came to sit down by her like a conveyor belt. They said their part, got her thank-you's, got up, and let the next conveyor belt party sit down to try and snap her out, but always unsuccessfully.

Zoey was the only daughter of Vic. Vic was a good man; at least, so they said. He was not the type to share his personal life with anyone. All people knew was that - if one approaches Vic for help, he will never send you away. Ever. He worked at a plastic-making plant and made just enough to keep afloat with his fifteen-year-old daughter, Zoey. So, when sudden severe headaches caused him a trip to ER, where he was diagnosed with brain cancer, and passed away a few weeks later... No one was prepared. It just didn't feel right and no one knew what to say to his only daughter; no one knew what would happen to her, either.

Such were the thoughts of May, who had known Zoey since they were three. They were bosom buddies. They were inseparable. They had other friends, but only for formalities. Neither really needed much more than each other. That was evident from second grade. They strolled, walked, and stumbled through Kindergarten, grade school, elementary, middle school, and now high. Together. Always.

So, what was May to do now? She watched the conveyor belt slowly process around Zoey. It was not much different from the idea of fans of a singer or writer asking for an autograph. They come, they do their thing, they leave. They did no harm, they did no foul. But May knew deep down that she was capable of knocking Zoey out of this trance. She could do it... But how... Was there a password? A code word? No... None that they ever spoke about in their twelve years of friendship.

May loved Vic very much. No more no less than others, but she knew him more intimately. She couldn't imagine losing her own parents. How does one console one knowing nothing of what they're going through?

She approached Zoey, slowly, from the comfort of the corner of the room. Zoey did not look up, but she sensed her best friend. Her back straightened. Her hands moved to her knees. Her glance turned less transparent. The conveyor belt came to a halt. People's eyes darted between the two girls, and they backed away.

May sat by Zoey. She felt like taking her hand, but resisted, since the conveyor belt did that enough times.


Zoey's eyes left the spot on the carpet. She looked deeply into her best friend's eyes.


May searched Zoey's exhausted face, her mind, but found nothing to say. She looked at her own spot on the carpet.

"I lost my dad last night." Zoey spoke through barely moving lips.

May sorted through the dozens of words floating through her head. Spinning. She grabbed something and let it come out of her mouth. It wasn't what she expected.

"Did you... look under the couch..."

Zoey's head turned sharply and her eyes opened big and wide.

"No... what...?"

May stared back at Zoey like a deer in headlights, her face turning pale white. Her hands covered her cheeks.

"I'm so sorry, I don't know why I just said that..."

Her head was diving into her lap and back up. She kept apologizing in any way she could.

Zoey's hand then reached out and pulled May's hand away from her face and kissed it.

"It's okay... you meant no harm..."

May's face, now filled with tears, turned to Zoey's, and she caught her breath.

"My father died, May. I don't... care what you say. You're my best friend. Just be here for me."

Now the girls found themselves in a warm embrace, rocking slightly left and right, rivers of tears flowing freely. There were dozens of pairs of eyes from around the house fixed on them. They did not care. The guests' uncertainty seemed to fade when they saw the grieving, miserable fifteen-year-old finally found her outlet.

People started to talk louder than a whisper. Food moved. Drinks flowed. The party came to a subtle life. The girls remained in a hug, whispering to each other. No one could tell what was said, but it didn't seem to matter. The funeral took its dark shape and got on its way.

This was inspired by a question on Yahoo Answers. That is all I will say.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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