I was cursing my choice to be sober for the event, when someone tapped my shoulder. “May I help you Sir?” The funeral Director asked with forced kindness. Forced or not, I’d take what I could get.
“I’m here for the Barnoski funeral.” I replied with eyes cast downward.
“Did you know the deceased Sir?”
“No, but I have a… err… special relationship with her sister Nina.”
The Director shook his head sadly. “Such a shame for the family,” he said, pulling me aside. “Never in my career have I held a funeral for a matricide. I could have gone the rest of my life without having to do so, I might add.” He covered one side of his mouth with his hand and whispered to me, “I hear the boy was only fourteen years old, shot her eight times in the head and neck. He was arrested right off of the school bus they say!” His eyes were practically popping out of his head as he looked to me for confirmation.
I nodded to validate his statement. My eyes glazed over as I spoke, “Nina loves her nephew, but that love is dim compared to the bond she had with her sister. Though I know she misses both of them dearly, it’s my belief she misses herself more. The sweet girl she once was, is now lost in this nightmare.” I said, lost in my despair. It took a moment for me to notice the skeptical look on the director’s face. By then it was too late, I had already said too much.
“How exactly did you say you knew the victim’s sister?” he asked suspiciously.
I considered lying, but that’s not how I was made. “I’m a part of her, you see. More than once, she’s come close to giving it all up; the urge to stop the effort of healing, of living in this world, or fighting for her sanity. Promises of numbing the pain with drugs, alcohol and a complete disconnection to her life have swirled before her mind’s eye in a tempting dance.”
A sad smile crept lazily across my face. “You see Sir, I’m a forgotten soul. The reminder of what she would become if she loses her strength and the evil of this tragedy wins over the goodness in her heart.” With a final nod, I tipped my hat to the director. As I headed toward my cardboard slat in the alley and my bottle of whiskey, I hoped that Nina’s creativity was the closest she would ever come to being me.