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Through My Looking Eyes
The roads were covered with pot holes, but the white limousine seemed to ride smoothly on top of them. We breezed through the traffic lights as the squad car flashed its light to alert other drivers. Everything seemed mellow as the sun shined, although the bright rays did not break through the tinted windows. I stared at the traffic that stopped to let the funeral line pass, giving my family the respect we deserved. All was silent on the inside; I could hear nothing, not even my breathing.
We approached the church. The soft building stood out more than the other buildings it was surrounded by. The parking lot was small and cramped. It quickly became packed with cars and people leaving out of their cars, filing into a line to enter the cherry brick colored church. The limousine took the last parking space and the remaining cars parked on the street.
The driver approached the door and opened it. I stepped out onto the cold concrete floor and noticed the white dress shoes I was wearing. My eyes scrolled up and I saw that I was wearing an all white suit. The driver’s smile was bright and embracing. He made me feel welcomed. He also had on the same white attire, but he wore a hat, a hat that shined bright as if a halo was floating above his head. His arm stretched out in the direction of the door and I followed its guidance.
I approached the church slowly and stopped at the entrance to let everyone who was left to enter go ahead of me. My curious ears listened to a sound that I could not make out until I stepped through the door that was guarded on each side by two heavy wood doors. The sound was coming from a grand piano, played by an older African-American woman. No one seemed to notice my existence as I walked down the aisles, taking in my new surrounding. Red and pink roses drowned the inside. The windows let in a dim light that cased its warmth upon the faces of many of my friends and family members. Tears flowed down most of their faces like a waterfall. Some were hard tears followed by cries, while others were soft and calming. A sense of sorrow swept my body, but there was still joyfulness there from being able to know such a wonderful person. The preacher took his place at the podium, but did not speak to the crowd. He spoke to a young woman who I couldn’t make out from the back.
I moved closer to the casket. This was something that I had not braced myself for. A shiver of chills felt like a voltage running through my veins. My feet were grounded to the floor as if they were roots that couldn’t be removed from the ground. Eyes widening, I skimmed the whole body before another shock took over. This wasn’t just someone I knew. It was someone I knew from head to toe, body and soul. This person was me. Through my looking eyes I could see myself. I was dressed in a black suit with a blue and white tie. A tear rolled from my eye lid and onto my face, and then another onto the face of my body that laid in the casket. The crystal clear tear rolled down my dead body’s as if it owned that tear and it was natural to be there. Another voltage hit me. Everything around me was still and silent, silent until my focus was broken.
The preacher handed me an obituary and asked me politely to take a seat. He smiled and spoke. “It’s okay. Don’t be afraid of any of this. You’re in a better place now.” His voice was kind and gentle. He was the only one to speak to me and to acknowledge my presence besides the driver.
I listened, taking the seat in the first row next to my mother, six sisters, four brothers, and my pride and joy; my grandmother. Hands now shaking, I opened the obituary and read the program to myself. There were four speakers: my grandmother, my best friend Joy, my teacher Ms. Greene, and my acting director, Tony Sias. The first person to speak was my grandmother. She stood up slowly, walking to the podium where the preacher once stood. Tears rained from her eyes but she kept her composure, not letting the tears overtake her speech.
She began in a soft voice. “My grandson was a strong young man. It seems like it wasn’t his time, but God decided to take him now at the age of eighteen. There must have been a reason. He brought happiness to my life. Helping me with bills, providing me with food, and being there for me was much more than I could have asked for. My grandson had an impact on my life and others. I love him.” She stepped down from the podium and took her place back next to my mother. Tears flowed down my mother’s face. The thought that I was gone was something she didn’t want to believe, so she stayed silent, crying silent tears.
The next person to take their place at the podium was Joy. I watched her walk up there, remembering that she was the young woman that I hadn’t noticed from the back. Her composure was strong. Fighting back the tear, she began in a more powerful tone that grabbed everyone’s attention. “Tywon was my best friend. No, I shall not say was, but I will say is because he is still here in spirit with me. He took care of me, listened to my problems, and helped me through times that were hard. His smile and bright personality brought joy to my life. Now I feel that my name really has a meaning. And this meaning came from Tywon who was the joy of my days that I spent with him. I love you.” She stepped down and took her place back in the row next to my other friends.
Ms. Greene stood, but didn’t walk to the podium. She immediately spoke. “I was proud of Tywon because he wasn’t just your average teenager, he was more than that. He wanted to pursue a career in acting and writing, he worked so hard, even when times were rough for him. Having him around was something that I would never forget. It is something I wouldn’t even trade a million dollars for.” She sat down and put her hands on her face as tears began to sink through the cracks of her fingers.
Tony Sias stood with pride as he began his speech. “Tywon was a very good actor and asset to the Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Program. He brought his characters to life to have a purpose and meaning. And by doing this, he allowed us to see part of him inside of a character when he would act. He was able to leave different images of himself in different characters in our mind that we will always carry. One word to sum this up is great. Tywon was a great person.” He took his seat.
My funeral arrangements were just how I wanted them. It was a large crowd, soft music, an open casket, and a burial afterwards. Everything was perfect. And I was remembered by my personality and how I was able to help others. This was how I wanted to be remembered because it left a strong memory with everyone I loved, and the ones who loved me. This was my funeral. This was me, looking through my eyes.