The arched doorway framed the water-coloured mountains that acted as a backdrop to her shouldered coffin. The first link in the chain. Unpolished. Unsupported. Jenny believed she knew where her mother was going. But who could be sure?
Family members swelled with grief in procession. Balled up rags were pulled from sleeves and dabbed against clogged lashes. Except for Jenny.
The choir in the background lamented the passing of a woman unknown to them. A woman unknown to Jenny. The ritualistic mourning began to suffocate her like a dense humidity that she couldn’t push out of her way. Her face remained stoic. Years of pretending had paid off.
As the crowd left from the church for the graveyard, Jenny prayed for tears. Even angry ones would suffice. Something. Anything.
At the graveside, the priest began the eulogy.
“Lily came into this world alone. An orphan. She leaves five children behind who will cherish her memory…”
This was a lie. An abrasive untruth.
No tears. Her tear ducts rusted from years of flooding.
She turned to a sister who stood beside her.
“Please, may I borrow some of your tears? Please?”, said Jenny.
Aghast, her sister clutched the arm of an allied sibling and wailed. Four eyes on Jenny, six eyes, eight eyes, all eyes. Looks of disgust. Appalled.
“Could Jenny just try to fit in for once, especially today of all days? Her poor, poor mother.”
Jenny was sure that’s what they were thinking. They haven’t a clue. Not one clue. And how could she tell them? Even Lily didn’t care about what happened to Jenny all those years ago. Under her own roof and she turned a blind eye.
Lily’s body was committed to the ground. Four of her children huddled together in their grief. Jenny stood, a whirl of spring air spiralling around her, and stared at the coffin.
“Rest in Peace, Lily”, she said.
The crowd began to disperse. Jenny found the priest.
“Father, before I go home, would you hear my Mother’s confession.”