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I didn’t wear mascara to my brother’s funeral. I’d learn that lesson last year at Mom and Dad’s when I looked like a psychotic racoon within minutes of the service starting.
Not that it would matter. For some reason I hadn’t cried yet over Sam’s death. Liv thought I was still in shock over his so-called suicide, but I think it’s because I’m too pissed off to grieve for him.
Suicide? Yeah, right. I squinted as a streak of bright sunlight gleamed off the mahogany coffin and blinded me. I slid the sunglasses clutched in my hand on. God, it must be hot inside the coffin.
Behind the safety of the dark tinted lenses, my attention drifted over the crowded service. The minister spoke in his monotone voice, leading us all by the hand down memory lane and through what was supposed to be happier times. For me they were nothing more than fated dreams never to be experienced again. As my concentration floated back and forth between his words and watching the crowd, I realized he didn’t talk about Mom and Dad. Or about Sam’s death. Suicide wasn’t a hot topic these days for the man of cloth. Not that I minded, since I know Sam didn’t kill himself. I know he wouldn’t have committed suicide.
Some of the faces next to me I recognized, having seen them only last year. What’s the expression? Funerals and weddings will keep a family together. I covered my mouth at the accidental snort with a sniff. No one would mind if I cried. God, I wish I would. Sam deserved that from me. What kind of big sister was I if I didn’t become hysterical and wail with a broken heart over the loss of my brother? It was what everyone was waiting for, wasn’t it? For me to break down and lose it. It was like they were all waiting for me to realize I was burying the last member of my family. Like I didn’t already know that, geniuses.
My lack of emotions were the reason Liv and Josh had stayed glued to my side for the last four days. As if on cue, Josh’s heavy arm wrapped around my shoulder and pulled me closer to him. A sigh I’d been holding in rattled from my chest, and I tucked into his warmth. Liv’s hand stroked down my back, in a gesture I’d seen her do over and over with their cat Harold. The realization that she was patting me made me smile. But I sniffled again to wipe the smile away. How freaking inappropriate could I be?
Tucked into Josh’s shoulder, and with Liv flanking me, my eyes wandered from face to face. Some people stared at the coffin, glassy eyes overflowing with unshed tears, while others focused on the Minister, letting his words guide them through the service. A few darted quick glances my way, probably to see if I’d lost it yet. Cousins, aunt, uncles, people I didn’t know, and a few kids from Sam’s school gathered on this cool November morning to show respect to me and my brother.
Funny how no girls from Trinity Prep had attended. Not that I thought Sam was much of a ladies’ man. My brother had been tall and lanky, and had way too much success with computer hacking to bother with girls. But at sixteen, I figured he might have started dating soon. Another sigh rolled from my parted lips. Sam would never date; just like he’d never do hundreds of other things. Like go to college, meet a girl he could fall puppy dog in love with, or see the castles in Europe he always talked about. Great. All those extra shifts at Tim Hortins’ I’d been working to put money aside so we could go to England as a grad trip in two years was wasted.
A guy standing at the edge of the crowd drew my attention. He looked up from the compact earth and I saw that his dark hair matched his chocolate colored eyes. His hands were shoved into the front pockets of his pants, his posture was stiff and uncomfortable. So the guy didn’t like funerals. Big surprise. But he looked familiar and something pulled at my gut as my brain tried to remember where I’d seen him. He looked too old to be a student at Trinity -- closer to my age or maybe a year or two older. If he was in his early twenties, where would Sam have known him from? I’d be shocked if he was a teacher. Why the hell didn’t teachers look like him when I was in school? I might have actually attended class more if I had him to look at every day.
A sandy hair boy looked up and whispered something to the guy and a memory slapped me across the face when I studied the younger boy. Sam’s roommate. Calvin? Cooper? Something with a C. I’d only met him once when I dropped off Sam’s stuff at the beginning of the school year.
Liv nudged me, and I pulled my attention off the two guys standing across from my brother’s casket. I took the daisy she handed me and stepped forward. Poor Sam. He deserved to live. My eyes tingled with unshed tears and I squinted my eyes, hoping the tears would finally seep out. But they didn’t and the tingling faded.
I kissed the soft petals of the pure white daisy. The petals brushed against my lips like feathers used by a teasing lover. My hand shook slightly when I placed the flower on top of the polished wood.
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