The drive up the lane seems like one up that of a retirement center’s,

Long checkout times, I bet.

Inside, potted shrubs (fake) and floral arrangements (not fake) share space, side-by-side.

Every room has places to sit, but unsurprisingly everybody stands.

Alongside or in front of each couch are tables, each table holds a box of tissues.

I flirt with one of Her friends guiltily and inwardly try to guess her age.

My nephew runs about happily ignorant, a stark contrast to everyone else.

Back outside, the pond is frozen thick, the cold goes deep enough to support a man.

Undoubtedly however, other waterworks will flow freely.

Quite and sobriety surround us now, soft, slow, padding, footsteps down-the-way.

A picture is put up. Flowers. Comments are made on the prettiness of the bouquets and how I should use the same company for senior graduation.

Words are said. Wind. Air is gasped. Notes are not used. Mother forgets to look at hers. She shivers and blinks a little. Some minutes pass.

I learn how much She loved to travel, and that her cat will be taken care of, and that She danced at the YMCA.

Wet soil on dry ash. It’s quiet. 80-plus years boiled down, distilled, boxed into, downsized, shrunk, crammed, shrunk, abbreviated, sifted through, and cut to 20 minutes.

I go home and play videogames.

The funeral home is forgotten.

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