Seeing the Dawn

Posted: October 20, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , , , ,

caneCatherine shook hands with relatives she hadn’t seen in years. Her second cousin Martin kissed her cheek. “I’m so sorry, Cat.”

“Thank you. He’s in a happier place now.”

“Are you doing all right? Do you need any help?”

Honestly, she was tired of standing. She leaned on her cane and tried to shift weight to her left leg in a way no one would notice. “Oh, no. I’m fine. I’m a tough old lady. I’m still tending my garden and walking the dog and raking leaves.”

“Give us a call if you need any help.”

“Of course.”

Martin moved on, followed by Martin’s wife, then more cousins. The service was lovely. Her husband John had asked for poetry readings in his will. Her favorite was when John’s brother read from Tagore: “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.”

The time came to take the casket to the family crypt. The younger lads picked up the casket to take it outside. It was a short walk to the back of the house, where they could enter the old family catacombs.

Catherine shook her head. “I don’t like this,” she said to Martin. For some reason he’d stayed close to her after the ceremony.

“It’s family tradition,” Martin said.

“Piss on tradition. He didn’t want to be buried in a musty old crypt.

“You’ll be able to visit him.”

He didn’t get it. Catherine didn’t say anything. They followed the procession past the garden that John had loved to tend so much. It really was a lovely day. The flowers were blooming, and the birds that John had loved to watch were flitting around the garden.

She accepted Martin’s help down the ancient stairs. They placed the coffin in the vault. Catherine put her hand on it and whispered some soft words to her husband. She sealed the vault herself, then Martin helped her back out.

They were getting ready to seal the catacombs. Catherine said, “That won’t be necessary.”

“We need to seal it. This is a tomb,” the minister said.

“I’m not shutting my husband into the dark. Tomorrow the builders are coming. I’m building a shaft so that there will always be light on his face.” Catherine put her hands on hips. She looked from face to face, and smiled for the first time today. “And if I hear one person say ‘tradition’ about that, I’ll wrap this cane around their neck.”


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