I wish I knew it was the last time. But that’s the things with last times, often you don’t know. This was the case when we walked through the doors of the church for a funeral.
The pastor’s voice broke several times during it, as he was close with the deceased. Sniffles echoed in the sanctuary, as the eulogy was given and a murmur of laughter rolled through the small crowd gathered when the funny stories were shared. It was heartwarming, despite the pain.
We didn’t go out to lunch with everyone afterwards. I regret that now.
The funeral might as well as been for all of us too.
A man had a rather odd sport of fashioning the Bible into a weapon. I heard whispers of him in a forge, grinding off the sides until the blade was sharp enough to shave hair and long enough to severe an aorta. He wasn’t some Christianized version of Jack the Ripper; he simply used it defensively, not offensively. The take away message was don’t get too close: you’ll probably leave in an ambulance. At least, that’s what all the others did.
I saw first hand the wounds from the biblical knife. I saw the blood seeping through the bandages. I saw the script for hardcore antibiotics to keep infection at bay. I always seem to carry iodine preps in my purse and so I hand them out liberally on the down low. If you say enough words, I’ll show up. Better to prevent an infection than to treat one, I say.
It wasn’t just a few apples with worms. “Fold,” one of the prominent ones said, as if they were at a poker game. They had plenty of chips, but didn’t like the game. No ace to get that fourth card. They cashed out before any blood was shed. Nonetheless, it didn’t change anything.
A duel happened. And then another one. And then I found myself silently cheering on another one who put all their pain in words. I heard that mic drop all the way over here. This could have been a rap battle had it taken place in the back room of a bar in Detroit. There would have been fights outside afterwards.
And then silence.
There’s always silence.
With the world in the current state of affairs, I haven’t heard much. I’m not in those circles anymore, but the circle is broken now, more like a wavy line that just sits there.
If I could repair it, I would. I’m a peacemaker by default, so all of this strife is very contrary to my nature. And yet, the wounds are not mine to heal. And confronting my sword-wielding friend? “I wouldn’t waste your breath,” one said slowly as they absentmindedly touched the raised scar over the wound that never seems to heal. “They’ll deny everything.”
How does one more forward? I will be the first to admit the cognitive dissonance that I feel needs to be addressed.
My thoughts drift back to the funeral, the last time we were all together, comforting each other, united under a common purpose. I long for those days, especially after this past year of absolute madness.
But I can’t claim I didn’t know the score anymore, I’ve seen too much, I’ve heard too many things.
And now I’m caught again, between the past and present.
I’ll evade getting sliced and diced. I know how to dance this dance.