Funeral (A Sketch)
Now that he was dead a room full of the people who had known him best stood in unconsciously formed groups and pensively ate little sandwiches and sipped free drinks. His colleagues from the firm, several of whom had been in the meeting when he collapsed, all agreed that his performance at work had dropped off considerably during those last few months. A few, those who had worked with him the longest, observed that he was never really the same after his daughter had died two years ago in a car accident. His former wives and lovers, many of whom had never spoken before and never would again, whispered that, though he could be distant, he was a genuinely kind and caring man. His second wife, absently stroking her ring finger, spoke with a trace of melancholy of how hard she had tried to reach him. A group of college friends stood near a table covered with upended wine glasses swapping stories about the countless times he had come to their aid and regretting that they had not done more when his father had died junior year. His brother and sister talked with a small group of family friends, comparing how long it had been since each person had last spoken with him. When he had gone to college everyone assumed he would return to help run the family business, assumed it for so long that they had only finally understood he wasn’t coming back after many years had passed. His mother, standing alone in a dim corner, felt a glow of pride as she gazed at the roomful of people and longed for the smiling face of the generous, wild-haired boy she had watched and loved as he slowly grew into the quiet, sad-eyed man who lay in the next room.