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Black Love

It's alright, The hardest part is through.

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I stood looking at myself in the mirror. My bun was too tight, and I don’t really know why I would wear makeup considering that I’ll probably cry every morsel of it off, anyway. I’m in a pretty, black lace dress that my mom got for me at Good Will. The whole thing is really just a shame, because it’s a beautiful dress and I’ll probably never be able to wear it again after tonight.

I run out of my house and climb into the back seat of the van. I actually hate sitting in the back, but I don’t complain because everyone is already sad and we haven’t even gotten their yet. I listen to my headphones the whole ride, hearing each song a little differently than I had before. I let the lyrics sink into my brain, like it’s the last time they will ever come booming through my ear drums. The rain was falling down hard upon the worn out road. Every car that is travelling down this ragged pavement is carrying passengers that all have their own story. Each one is smiling, or crying, or laughing, or simply just sitting. But the cars never stop, no matter how sad or happy the passengers are. They just continue on down the black asphalt, shaky tires and wind rushing through the windows, until they finally reach their destination. The cars don’t stop for anybody, and neither does life. I sometimes think my story is the saddest of them all. But perhaps everyone has that same exact thought. We pulled up to one of those shitty gas stations in Lynn, MA with a blinking and broken sign in the front. My mom looked like she was going to cry as she turned around toward the back of the van and asked if I’d run into the store to grab a pack of gum. She doesn’t say sugar free, but I know that’s what she wants. Maybe she will crack a smile when she realizes that I got her favorite kind for her. I push open the heavy metal door covered in taped scratch tickets and candy wrappers, and instantly hit with a wave of curry. It flies through my nostrils, like it was blown by wind through the beaded yellow dress of a young Indian girl. I walked towards the register, meeting eyes with a small, brown boy in a Tom Brady jersey. He appeared too young to be operating a register alone, but his father was lingering over him. I grabbed a pack of sugar free orbit and gently placed it on the counter as if I was crossing into their territory. The father looked at me, and then at the Tom Brady boy, and nodded. The boy quickly tapped a few buttons and then an obnoxious buzzing noise went off. Before the father could react, the boy scampered away, his eyes meeting with mine. He apologized for his son’s mistake and began to ring up mom’s gum. I was soon on my way out the door, and back into the van. To my dismay, Mom didn’t smile and Dad didn’t even move an inch, his face stone. I feel bad for little Indian Tom Brady because I be the really loves his dad and just wants to make him proud, like a good son. Before I can continue to think about the smell of curry and the dad and his son, we arrive. Oddly enough, it looks as though I have pictured it. The traditional white building, with black canopies hanging over the entrance and the windows. Not a spot of color, the life and love sucked out of it by the Grim Reapers vacuum. We all piled out of the van, and entered the building. There were two men dressed in black, waiting on the stairs to greet us. They looked both happy and sad at the same time and I wonder how that is even humanly possible. But I guess that’s the way you have to be if you own a place like this. The first thing I saw when I walk in is picture boards. About five or six Styrofoam posters covered in pictures and newspaper clippings, scattered around the room. I feel weird seeing pictures of my aunt from when she was a child because it reminds me of myself. And now, she’s frozen. She’s frozen like stone in a mahogany casket, as if the wicked witch of the hills has cast a deadly spell on her. Except this time, the spell is called Cancer. The whole thing is just too realistic for me to comprehend, and I go find a pink, plush seat in one of the side rooms. If this wasn’t a funeral home I think that I may actually like it here, because the furniture is antique and neat and clean. But it is, so I don’t. I truly, truly don’t.

I decide to eat one of those pillow mints that you can find at your grandmas on Easter or a fancy office with glassy windows and shiny wood tables. The priest called my family into the room with my aunt. My eyes slowly floated to the open casket, but I wished they didn’t because no one else’s did, or at least it didn’t seem like it. It’s like I was expecting some sort of porcelain Barbie Doll covered in gold, but instead my eyes met a still, and grey soul. I grabbed my cousin’s hand, and we stood in silence, motionless as the priest spoke. I couldn’t help but look at my uncle, as if his tears would in some way console me. It’s an awful thought to think, but I didn’t care and couldn’t help steal peaks at the wilted man with sunken eyes. His pain was obvious and it burned through us all. The say that it’s the people who knew the deceased the least are the ones that cry the most. I think that’s bullshit, because I’ve known her my whole life and I cried. Her kids cried and her husband cried, and her mother and brothers and sisters all cried. They all cried a lot. Because the truth is, you never get used to it. The pain you can see like fire in their eyes is not normality. Cancer isn’t something that should be a casual thought, or part of a daily routine. Yet, people all around the world build their lives around it and it just tears them down.




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