“And may his soul rest forever peacefully in the eternal bliss of Heaven. Amen.” the priest ended the service.
It was strange to be back in Church. Pete hadn’t been inside Church for 5 years – but nothing much had changed. The stains seemed slightly better polished, the fans were bigger – but nothing much more. He wanted Kate to be here sitting next to him. He could have something to do, to cuddle her or tap her with his knuckles absent-mindedly…but right now, he could only think about the fact that he was back in Church. He didn’t particularly feel great that he had to commemorate his dad’s death in a place he despised the most.
His mom continuously prayed. There was no stop to it. Her eyes were red and puffy with crying, but she found no comfort. People came to comfort her, yes, but she found none. Pete wondered if it would be considered selfish to ask God if his dad could find a place in Heaven. He then wondered if his mom was praying for this. Why does there have to be a Heaven, or any after-life anyway? No one really knows what happens after one dies – but should there be a need to believe in such things? Pete did not know the answer to these questions, but he wanted to answer, ‘no’. And so he believed in that ‘no’.
With a soft smooth gesture, he put his arm around his mom to give her a quick comfort before going out of the church. He shuffled out of the church doors and went round the back into the church cemetery. All these tomb stones…Every now and then there was a single tombstone that stood out from any others due to its enormously and meticulously sculptured cross. Pete stopped to face one of these once in a while, whether in awe or in disgust it was difficult to tell, and fell into a short trance. His hands itched for Katie’s hands, and so twitched in accordance, but then he shook his head and his thoughts went back to his dad. What did his dad think of him? I’m so sorry, dad…I was such a bastard of a child to you. I hope you knew I didn’t do this deliberately to break your heart. It wasn’t my fault – and he stopped. Of course it was my fault. He moved on from the tombstone and continued his aimless perambulating.
He saw people coming out the church. Falling out of his sentimental cocoon he threw himself back into reality. Sighing, he felt an enormous sense of duty and responsibility fall upon his shoulders. Dad isn’t here to take it off me, Pete told himself. “Hello, Mrs. Darlos, did you have a nice lunch?” and there began the socializing process. He imagined himself rolling his eyes and wished once more for Kate to be here with him.
And then he thought: ya, why not?
So he excused himself from Mrs. Darlos and looked for mom.
“Hey mom,” he addressed her, “I can’t take this any longer…is it alright if I make my own way home now?”
Mom nodded sheepishly and wiped her red swollen eyes with her left hand. Taking Pete’s hand with her left, she squeezed it gently and nodded again. “I’ll be home late, there are a lot of guests to attend to. Your uncles and aunts are here to help anyway, so you don’t need to be here,” she said.
Pete hugged his mom and walked off away from the church and when he was sufficiently out of sight, he called Kate.
“Hey Kate, you free right now?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be at your dad’s funeral?”
“It’s done. My mom doesn’t need my help anymore…so I decided to make my own way home.”
“Ya sure, wanna meet at Coffee Bean?”
“Ok, be there in about 20 minutes.”
“See ya then,”
He hailed a cab and in 20 minutes, he was at Coffee Bean. Greeting Kate with a kiss, she spread her arms out, and he fell into her embrace. They stood interlocked with each other for a very long time, and Pete closed his eyes to sharpen his olfactory senses and let her scent drown him slowly – until she stopped and took a step back, holding his hands.
“My parents are away…” she began.
“Really…?” Pete trailed off. His dad’s image formed from the ground, but he could not see the face. He did not know whether his dad was being stern or not.
“Mm,” Kate gave him a playful smile, “Let’s put your mind off things…” and pulled his arms.