He stood watching the procession. He just couldn’t be around anyone else right now. He didn’t want to hear the sorries and condolences. He didn’t want to hear any of it. He was afraid he might cry and no one could see him crying. He didn’t want to show that kind of emotion to anyone.
He watched through the dark shades of his sunglasses. He wore the customary black suit with a grey trench coat. He wore a hat as well since it was raining, opting to go without the umbrella. They say you knew the locals because they never used umbrellas.
He watched them carry the casket and put it in place over the grave. The priest began talking as people gathered around but he couldn’t hear a word the priest was saying. No matter, he already had an idea of what was being said. He had some words to say himself, but nobody would ever hear them because it was between him and nobody else but her.
He saw one of his friends look over at him and start to walk over, but another friend grabbed their arm and shook her head. They argued for a bit and his friend decided she was right and just sat back down. Just as well, he thought. He didn’t need anyone right now. Not a soul.
He watched as the coffin began its slow descent into the earth. Everyone was crying, blowing their noses. Its days like these, he thought, that keeps Kleenex in business. He thought he would at least have cried by now but he found himself surprisingly cold. It was as if something had died in his soul and taken the emotions away from him. He thought it was just as well. He didn’t think he could deal with everything if he had to feel it too.
He watched in complete cool as they started to fill the grave with the dirt. It was as if he was being buried in there. He felt responsible for her death. It was like he had killed her with his own hands. In a way, he did. He replayed it in his mind over and over. What could he have done differently? If he could feel, would he feel guilty? Would he feel remorse? He didn’t think he would ever know.
Just then, he noticed his friend break away from his wife and started walking toward him. His look was not sad, but instead very angry. He was clearly not coming over to offer his condolences.
“You killed her!” he said. He started screaming expletives and using some creative words before his wife came up and restrained him.
By then, the man in the sunglasses and fedora hat had tuned him out. It was as if he were watching a movie with the volume turned really low and in slow motion. He thought he felt nothing. And everyone was now watching the ruckus.
“You’re heartless!” yelled his friend. “Why don’t you at least come pay your respects? You’re not even showing a hint of emotion! You’re responsible for this! You give me back my sister! How can you call yourself her husband? You’re just heartless,” his brother in law said as he dropped to the ground weeping. “You give me back my sister you son-of-a-bitch.”
He watched his brother-in-law crying like a little child on the ground. He felt remorse. He knew he was responsible. He knew, because of his actions, Maggie had died. He knew very well who should be the ground right now. But there was nothing he could do. There was nothing that could bring her back. Give me back my sister he asks. He didn’t have the power (or the right!) to do such a thing. Did he even know what he was asking for?
Instead of responding, he turned away from him and started walking toward his car. He turned his back on his brother-in-law and the rest of the family, letting them think he didn’t care at all about Maggie. Let them believe what they want, he thought. I know the truth.
The rest of the family watched as he walked away. They watched with a little anger, but mostly sadness. Their thoughts were easily ascertained. What drove him to be like this, they wondered. Most knew losing a loved one can change a person. Sometimes drastically. But why didn’t he at least shed a tear for poor little Maggie? Didn’t he at least love her? Didn’t he care?
Samuel kept walking. For a moment, he stopped. The family thought he was about to turn around and come back to them, but instead he only turned halfway and paused. Then he resumed walking to his car and quietly got in.
If only someone was close enough to see the tears running down his face. If only.