Untitled- Prologue

May 10, 2017
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A body lay comatose inside of a velvet red-rimmed coffin. Weeping stone angels hovered by his side, their mouths punched into thin, hard lines. Their beaded eyes glanced from me to him.
From life to death.
Then from death to life. If only he could have made that leap, too.
But there he remained, as he must, a heap of memories in the shape of a body in a death box. And as people arrived, they only tossed more red and thorned memories onto the pile. No, I wanted to say, keep them. He has no use for them anymore.
I had already herded my own memories of him together and drove them down to my toes, far away from my heart and my mind, for if they happened to near either one, they would torture me to no end. So I struggled with taming wild and elusive memories and, for a while, I succeeded.
Loud chimes shattered the delicate silence of the room, traveling through the walls and reverberating in pipes of the organ before kneeling in front of the altar and dissolving slowly back into silence.
The service was starting.
It was indoors, as the dreaded things often are, though I don't know why. One would think the healing powers of the sun would be praised in a time like this. Yet perhaps the brightness of the world was too much for people whose world had suddenly turned dark. Whatever the reason, that day we traded sunshine and the smell of dirt for gloomy light and the smell of confinement.
Confining it was, for the great open archways in the windows seemed to shrink, and to close off all light from the outside; the tall ceiling felt as though it would collapse any minute, following the lead of my chest; and the of the altar threatened to charge me, bared with fire and a cross, and stab me through.
The strangest, though, was the life that resided in the red carpeted path lying before the altar. It laughed at me, teased me, waved a flag of irony in my face, then looked at me pointedly as it ran down the aisle, past the pews, to stand in front of his body, surrounding him with a velvety skirt of passion and love.
Passion and love. At least someone had those things. I prayed that the people with somber faces held hope and love still in their hearts for him. That the emotions within were different than the words falling flatly out of the preachers mouth. I wondered what this was doing–who it was helping–for the monotone echoes, despite their depth or sound, held no depth of insight. A dead voice honoring the life of a dead man.
My mother's face was still, a reflection of the stillness in her heart. Her rigid body made me think of his, and how, in life, he had never been still. I'd wanted his ashes poured into the ocean. It would have been fitting, pouring a body that had always been moving in life into a body that was always moving, alive.
But the man had donated his body to science. He didn't have the mind for it, so he thought his body would do, instead.
The room was stuffy, and the preacher's words fell as flat as an old, rusted piano. If I had stayed any longer in this unbreathable air, I just might have ended up the one in the casket.
I excused myself from my mother's side, quickly citing the bathroom as an excuse.
I stepped outside.
It was a beautiful afternoon–a shining sun had coaxed the birds into song and the heat from the pavement penetrated the frozen film enveloping my heart. When the ice melted, despairing water flowed through my body, escaping from my eyes.
He was gone. My brother was gone.

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