Dining with Death
I went into my bathroom and stared into the mirror. It was covered in dust and the frame, which was once covered in beautiful gold paint, was peeling off. It was getting older, like I was. I rubbed my cheeks and watched my face morph from disfigured look to disfigured look until I grew tired of looking at myself and I turned and faced the opposite way.
What did I see earlier, that thing in the curtain?
I reached for the bottom of my pajama t-shirt and began to pull it up slowly over my head when I heard the door open. I quickly turned and saw Alec. He was staring at the floor but suddenly jerked upward and gasped at me. I wouldn’t deem myself in a topless state but all the same I felt totally naked and taken aback. He didn’t move, just kept staring at me, examining me from my head to chest then back again as if trying to make sure I was the same person I was to him.
“I… I’m sorry,” he apologized delicately. He fixed his eyes back at the ground and backed up slowly before closing the door. I turned back at the mirror to look at my upper body. Was there something wrong with me?
We sat down that evening and stared at the ‘food’ on our plates. You couldn’t trust what would be in my mom’s cooking but since we had guests and I was beginning to look pale I forced myself to eat this creative use of ham and rice without regurgitating.
It was very silent that night. Crickets would be heard if it was the middle of a warm summers day yet it wasn’t summer or warm. Nobody at the table spoke at all and only the sounds of the clinking forks could be heard. I didn’t have the courage to strike up a conversation so I muttered, “Why are you all here,” and continued to pick at my platter.
“We are here to discuss funeral arrangements,” Donovan’s mother said. My head suddenly jerked up with interest and it was heavy so my neck cricked. Alec, who was sitting next to me snorted and looked up. My eyebrows knitted suddenly as I said, “Funeral? Are you kidding me? Donovan is too young to have a funeral, he isn’t even dead, and I saw him!”
This surprised all of us and they gaped with big eyes at me. I surprised myself. Why did I say such a thing? I knew that Donovan had died yet I also knew he was still around. Lingering about my heart.
“What are you talking about?” Alec shouted. He slammed his fork down. Everybody cringed. “Donovan will always be my best friend! I knew he was dead when I heard the rumors and I didn’t see him all that day and I knew it because I had seen you crying about it and then you told me! I told Donovan everything and I trusted him. Don’t think you can fucken bring him back by saying you saw him Elizabeth! I swear to God, I’m not kidding, if this is all a big joke then you got me. OK, you got me? Har, har it’s all good, now bring Donovan back from behind the curtain and have him tell me he’s alive!”
Alec, I thought to myself. Everybody was shocked. Alec had eyes of fury and he swished his head back and forth, knocking the tears off his chin. I turned to my plate and faced my lap.
“We have to discuss this issue, heartbreaking or not he was our son, your boyfriend, Alec’s friend. Donovan was a lot of things to all of us. Let us make seeing him for the last time a time to remember,” said Donovan’s mom who was nearly broken inside and her physical looks proved truth.
Her face had become a sandy red as if it had been burnt. She had dark purple-grayish circles around her eyes; not just under, around. Her mouth was chapped with a frown that no time would heal. She had apparently gained weight since last we met. Last time I saw her we were at the beach, she was in a nice yellow bikini, strutting herself, while I hid behind a towel. It should be no parents experience to have their children die before them.
We all finished our dinner and we sat there with ideas bubbling in our seemingly drunken heads and pens and paper ready to jot down anything coming to mind or said.
“We need flowers,” Donovan’s mom said.
“We need Donovan,” I ignorantly grumbled. Everybody ignored me and went on with their conversation about the arrangements and such and if they could get the priest to say some words. The phone rang then. I scooted past everybody and picked up the phone and sighed into it.
“Hello?” I asked into the phone while everybody continued to jabber.
Silence filled the other line.
“Hello?” I asked again impatiently.
“I did it,” said a voice.
“Who is this?” I asked again. I could feel my ears widening.
“I did it,” it hissed again. There was a silence on the other line then it clicked off. This was strange. I hung up and wrinkled my face a bit before returning to the dining room table. They were now yammering about where they were going to hold the waking.
I wish it was the waking up, then there would be no need for a "laying to rest" until a hunderd years later.
We were dining with death today, it seemed, and many events were happening that made me sick to my stomach. I wondered who had called me. The only time I didn't want caller ID and I desperately needed it. Donovan, can you tell me who it was?