Sunday, August 10, 2008

Already made it to the bottom of that well.



The church was so silent at times that I could hear the soft, very soft hum of an air conditioning vent somewhere near the pew I sat in. For a moment it overwhelmed me and when I sighed it seemed to be in melody with the hush of cold music from the air conditioning vent, wherever it was. I thought maybe they might have been placed underneath the long wooden benches, but I couldn't just get down upon my hands and knees and go looking for them, and I leaned back, tilting my head, looking up at the rafters; pretending the vast beams and shadows of the ceiling up above were an ocean -- and I about to fall from the sky, into it -- I closed my eyes and let the words of the Pastor seep in.

Up to this point, the funeral had been a complete letdown. I hadn't come here to feel even lower, about myself or anyone else, but hearing these words, and looking around me, at everyone here who were all somehow connected to each each other in one way or the other through the young gentleman up front in the casket, the only thing that could come to my mind was a complete and utter submersion of this church and its present attendance, down into the deepest, darkest part of the ocean that no one alive could possibly still know about, if ever anyone did. I pictured the bubbles escaping from the dozens of breaths, and the light from up above fading until it was just a pinhole.

So I stared up at the ceiling, wondering how long it would be before, after the trails of years finally sputtered out, each of us here would be in our own graves. A hundred years from now, maybe. There's a lot of life left in some of them, I can smell that on the clouds of perfume and aftershave. Still tilting my head back, listening to the solemnity of the sweet words running around the open acoustics of the chapel house but not really hearing what its intentions were attempting to dig into the virulent sadness and silence of those gathered here today, I didn't smile or frown. I just pictured the ocean swallowing everything.

And I tuned out.


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