Open-Casket

The church felt damp, which didn’t make any sense. How could stone and wood feel damp? Whether or not it was feasible, that was how it felt to Gina, and she kept wiping her hands nervously inside the pockets of her black pants. She worried that her mother, lying in the open casket across from the pews, would glisten with unearthly moisture and would freak people out.

All the way across town, Nicholas was getting ready for the funeral. He kept changing his mind about what tie to wear. There was a dark green one and a dark blue one and he couldn’t decide which one looked darker. He had almost bought a black tie just a couple months ago, but had then decided that he’d never have occasion to use it. Gina’s mom provided the occasion now. She always did like to be contrary.

Gina stared at her mother’s pale, pinched face. Her lines had smoothed out a little and she looked younger than she had before she died. The expression around her mouth was still the same, though. She was scowling.

In the cab, Nicholas asked the driver what color his tie was. The man looked at him like he was insane, but humored him and looked in his rear-view mirror. “Green,” he said. Nicholas cursed himself and wished he’d worn the dark blue one.

Gina heard footsteps and turned. Nicholas came up to her, wearing a sympathetic expression. His eyes looked tired and one of his shoelaces was untied, although he didn’t seem to notice. Gina smiled and hugged him. They stood together and looked at her mother. “I almost wish she’d wake up and tell us to get married or break up already,” Gina said. Nicholas kissed her head and squeezed her shoulder. He didn’t wish any such thing.

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One thought on “Open-Casket

  1. Erin M says:

    I love, love, love the character development in this. You’ve shown so much about everyone in such a short space. Really interesting unsettledness to the piece, too, I mean about everything feeling slightly off to the characters, which perfectly suits the funereal setting.

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