Quarantine Blues #3
Quarantine Blues #3
When everyone has a mask on it's hard to know if you're in the right place
So it’s Saturday and I’m standing here on the hard ground of the cemetery, hoping I’m in the right place because I came late, I didn’t want to be part of a funeral procession, but I wanted to come because I love Steve, whose father died the other day after a long time being sick and I know how hard it is to lose your father, no matter how long it takes for him to die. I only expected to know one other person there, but I can’t see her. I can’t approach any of the other mourners to ask if I’m at the right burial because, you know, COVID19 makes it hard to go up to anyone you don’t know especially if they’re wearing a mask. The family, which is sitting in folding chairs at the edge of the gravesite, also has masks on, so I couldn’t tell if Steve was one of them.
I feel like I’m in the right place. There’s the coffin, that at least looks familiar. There’s a priest saying how wonderful the person was, and he intoned prayers. Everyone seemed to know when to cross themselves, which they did so violently that birds started tweeting with surprise every time they felt the wind created by hands making a sign that is also a beg: “please God, whatever I’ve done I’m sorry and when I go please, please, please let me into heaven so I’ll see, ah…whoever it is that’s in the coffin.”
The priest sprinkles some holy water on the coffin and walks away, leaving it to what must be a family member to thank everyone for coming, and how much it would mean to Mike that they were all here.
Mike. Steve’s father’s name isn’t Mike.
It’s not polite to run away from a burial site, so I walk as fast as I can to my car and drive around the cemetery looking for a group of mourners gathered around a gravesite. When I couldn’t find any I pulled over and risked texting our mutual friend Susan who I thought must have been there behind a mask.
I got an immediate response. “The burial is Monday …”