I knew it would be dark before I walked out, but I didn’t think there would be rain. Why didn’t I think that? It would only be appropriate for the clouds to pour down on such a disheartening day.
I couldn’t have been more underdressed. My black jeans and black polo fit the color scheme of such an event, but it wasn’t quite the appropriate attire. After seeing the hodgepodge of mixed outfits when I entered the room, I didn’t feel too out of place. Other men were in khaki shorts and stripped polos, yet some were in full suits. There were women wearing jeans and some wearing fancy blouses. In the back of the room was my girlfriend, in her black romper and sweater jacket. She got the idea.
She stood with a sort of resilience. With so many people crammed into a room, you have to be sure not to bump into those around you. I made my way to her, giving slight nods to those I made eye-contact with, until I reached her. She told me how she was so unfamiliar with most of the faces in the room. With such an unfamiliar situation, unfamiliar faces seemed to be expected.
Although, the hug she gave me was familiar. It wasn’t the hug of someone in mourning, at least to me it wasn’t. It felt melancholic. She was sad, but I could tell in her voice and demeanor that she coming to terms with it, which was expected. This wasn’t the first viewing. She had already gone to the one during the afternoon, but because of my academic priorities I couldn’t be there for her earlier.
She introduced me around. Of course, I knew her mother, and her sister. Her five-year-old cousin was there too, seemingly unaffected by the situation. She still ran around and talked innocently, while those around held conversations to distract from the grief. I met some distant family, and some friends of the family. People who knew her mom and people who knew her dad. People who were friends with her dad’s new fiancé. Sitting on the couch against the back wall was her grandmother talking with another elderly women, and her grandfather not too far away.
I couldn’t help but look around. It was more joyous than I expected. The conversations seemed lively. Even my girlfriend seemed more upbeat, though I could tell, deep down, there spun a spiral of many emotions.
Before leaving, my girlfriend and her young cousin said goodbye to their grandmother. She was a shorter woman, with her shining brown hair and bright smile. She thanked me for coming as others did before. Then their grandfather. A well-dressed man with the scent of flowers. The young girl put her hand to her grandfather’s, then turned around to my girlfriend to tell her how his hand was cold. I glanced for a few moments. A man I had only met once in this world, and if I was to meet him again, it would be in another.