The wooden box looks too small to hold a woman of eighty-eight years and such a fearsome personality, but apparently it does. Just as the four solemn men lift the box from the hearse a small, grey aunt insists they replace it and move her tiny wreath on top in parity with my mother’s.
They’re all here; the flotsam and jetsam from one side of a family in name only, willfully dreaming of unlikely riches, the corned beef sandwiches (to follow) and the slower death of small talk.
My mother is the only person to cry during the service and that may be more than many of us receive or deserve. Just an afternoon back on the narrow streets of my youth, reminding me why I am somewhere else, not necessarily better, but different from here.