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Jimmy O'Malley's Wife

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“Well excuse me, Marcia! I’m sor-”

A man in a dull black suit drives his dull black Honda with a little girl in the back seat who is similarly clothed in a dull black dress.

“Well excuse me for wanting to bring our daughter to a movie! I apologize!” the man spurts out sarcastically into his cellular phone. “All right! Fine! We’ll be home later!” Slamming his phone closed, he throws it onto the passenger seat like a disgruntled child would throw his teddy bear. He honks the horn angrily at a car trying to cut him off. Placing his temple in his hand he sighs a long “huh.” That monosyllabic outburst melts away his tension. Outside, the gray dull clouds hover above. The man opens the car window to get some relief. He feels the rush of the cool wind on his face while simultaneously smelling the scent of car exhaust fumes characteristic of a busy highway.

He pulls the car into a lot with a large dull sign reading “Carson’s Cemetery.” Turning to face his daughter, he speaks tenderly, “Now Mary, this trip that Daddy and you are going on is going to be our little secret, okay? Mommy can’t know about this. It’s going to be between you and me, you understand? Our little adventure!”

“Uh-huh.”

“Good girl. Pinky promise me you understand.” Their little fingers interlock.

The duo steps out of the car into a musty smelling cemetery office and out again into a graveyard. They quickly join a procession of people all dressed in dull black suits gathered around a dull gray stone. It reads “Linda O’Malley 1979-2007.” A priest heads the group. “Who is that Daddy?” Mary asks, pointing to the grave. “Someone Daddy used to know,” he responds calmly. As the man looks around, he notices all the people crying and mourning, bawling and wailing. He remembers the last funeral he attended. He was ten and it was his grandpa. He looks at a sobbing woman, draped in black, and a picture of his crestfallen grandmother flashes quickly before his eyes. Although the events are so vastly different, he realizes the similarities.

The priest clears his throat. “Although the circumstances of the death bring to mind certain macabre and depressing thoughts, one must realize the true lesson of such an occurrence. This is simply, that family truly matters. Our family is our everything. Therefore, when you do not put trust in your family, what can you really expect back from them?”

The procession scatters as the mourners pay their final respects. “Stay here honey,” the man directs soothingly to his daughter. Waiting patiently, Mary catches bits and pieces of a conversation between two men.

“So you hear what happened? Jimmy went ape s***, killed her then himself. His friends said he suspected she was foolin around. Guess he just couldn’t take it, huh.”

Although Mary doesn’t know exactly what ‘fooling around’ means, she suspects it is bad. Her mom often told her in a stern voice to stop fooling around.

“Jimmy who?” the other man responds.

“Jimmy O’Malley for Chrissake! That’s his wife.” He nods at the headstone.

Looking back to her father, Mary sees him crouched over the grave, knees ground like roots into the mud. Tears flowing slowly, he keeps his head bowed.

She walks over. “Daddy, are you okay?”

As he looks into his daughter’s concerned eyes, he inhales a great gust of air. It smells of spring, of fertility, of life. He wipes his eyes as the sun starts to come out. “Yes honey, Daddy’s just fine.”
He takes her hand, gently saying “Now let’s go home.”





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aubrey_the_author said...
Nov. 20, 2008 at 2:45 am
Great job, Lance! The only problem I see is that with each new person speaking, there is supposed to be a new paragraph. Other than that, it was spectacular! Great job!
-aubrey_the_author :)
 
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