I am actually quite happy with myself for releasing parts of my novella to the public….granted it may not be for all, but it can be helpful to some …
Yesterday we left off as Shelly was overcome with the emotional pain that she felt after speaking with Travis who was lying dead in the casket …
I kissed his forehead, hugged him once again, and starting to walk away. I couldn’t, halfway down the aisle, I stopped, collapsed on the floor, and started to bawl my body just rocking back and forth. My mind was spinning, my world upside down, by heart shattered, my soul broken.
Felt like a lifetime went by until the tears stopped, but they did, I stood up and walked out. As I was walking down the aisle, I was stopped by another uniformed firemen.
“Shelly there is a man here, claiming to be your father and a female claiming to be your sister”
How the fuck did they find out? I thought. Who the hell told them? Oh my god, there is going to be an incident, they are going to cause a scene.
“I don’t want them here” I remarked.
“Do you need me to handle this, and tell them to go away”
“No, I will handle this” I reasoned with myself, that sure I can take this on as well.
Sure as shit, as I opened a side door, there they were. Pathetic. Oh, how am I am gonna do this I thought.
“Hello Dad, hello Ashely” I said with bitterness.
“Hello Daughter, we came, how are you” he said.
By no means was this male my dad, nor my father. He just participated in the act that created me. All the bull that he has pulled through the years, raping my mother, not being able to provide, preferring alcohol and tools before providing for his infant daughter’s. The things this male has done, whatever.
“Travis is inside”, I told them.
“We can’t stay long daughter” Fred said. Good I thought.
Fine, that’s okay with me I thought. “Oh, okay” I said.
As we walked towards the casket, Ashley remarked “It smells in here, why does it smell”?
I blow the question off. No sense in trying to explain it to her, she’s 24 and has the brain of a seven year old.
They quickly glance at Travis and diverted their eyes. Within ten seconds of being in the building and seeing Travis, their bullshit started. This time car problems. Normally, I would listen and give some helpful hints or tips. This time, I couldn’t take it.
“You know what, that is my husband, the father of your nieces, your granddaughters, I do not have time right now, nor do I care, right now, if you cannot show respect for Travis or myself, who you claim to love and care for, then get out”
They turned and left. A month later, I changed my number, and haven’t seen them nor heard from them ever again.
The second wake was about to start. I walked back to the bay area of the firehouse and stood next to Lizzy. A couple of firemen came up to me, eyes stricken with grief, as I look at them, I reassured them that it was going to be okay, they couldn’t talk.
IT was time. Time for me to take my place next to Travis’s side again. Suzy came back up and took her place as well as Lizzy would too, but behind me.
Seven different fire companies stopped by this time. Trails of black, blue, green, white uniforms each color from different company. These were men and women that I didn’t know, but somehow Travis knows them. Lives that were touched by them, served with them. Majority of the members would come up to me, shake my hand or hug me, giving me their condolences, and tell me of what a great man Travis was, and what a lost to the community it was.
There was a spell of where there was not a soul up near the casket and I looked across the rec hall to the family and friends that were sitting in chairs, some in groups, some swapping stories, some wiping tears, some just in a trance.
“Such a great man, so youthful” I overheard a person say.
Out of nowhere, a young woman entered jean shorts, a tee-shirt, beautiful hair, red eyes, rush up to the casket, look, and rush out while saying “I’m sorry”. I had no idea who that was.
Minutes later, co-workers stepped up, saying it took some time to make it up here, I just couldn’t, I can’t, he, he was so great to work with”. There were people who couldn’t make it up to the casket, for they couldn’t bring themselves to do so.
8:00 p.m came, I watched people leave. The Honor guard that was guarding my husband’s body was dismissed for the night. No, it was not time.
I glanced back and there out of nowhere was a line of uniformed officers lining the walls of the rec hall. I was surrounded. No. No. They cannot shut the lid. No. They cannot take him away. I felt tears rise up. No. I was looking at his body for the last time. The very last time to see his face, his chest, his nose, mouth, ears, fingers, legs, feet and so much more.
Suzy wept “can’t be time, can it, no Travis, Shelly, can’t you do something… don’t, it …cant…be..time”.
I watched as she bent down to hug her baby brother for the very last time. Weeping Suzy says “we are going to miss you Travis.” Her husband proceeded.
Me. I wanted everyone out.
“Can we keep the lid open, please, I begged”
“Can I sleep here, one last night”.
Oh my god, my body started to shudder, I bent down to give Travis his last hug, I fixed his collar, kissed his hands, looked at his nails, which her bitten unbelievably short, no dirt though. After hugging him, the last time I saw Travis was through a blur of tears, as I walked down the aisle. I tried to turn around but I was instantly meant with a wall of uniformed officers, I couldn’t even see the casket anymore.