My life began with a funeral. I know it sounds kinda crazy but it’s true.
I grew up in Joyville, a small town where everybody knew everybody. Lemonade stands littered the sidewalks, kids scampered about till any remnants of the sun dissipated, buzzing from the swamp creatures miles away could be heard through the dead of night.
We were oh so joyful in Joyville. It even said so on the small dilapidated sign welcoming you to our town on Highway 1.
And when word spread that Miss Margery on Fourth Street was gonna have herself a third baby? Well, Joyville became even more joyous.
It had been years since a baby was born of Joyville parents and the fact that Miss Margery, mom to 8-year-old Timmy and 6-year-old Carol, was no spring chicken… well, it turned this baby into a celebrity of sorts!
A huge shower was thrown in the Church’s basement where everyone in Joyville came to celebrate Miss Margery and her new baby. We even had us some pink lemonade, 7UP, and raspberry sherbert mixed up all together in a big punch bowl alongside lots of treats all the ladies brought, and played games to guess how many of them little squares of toilet paper it would take to get around Miss Margery’s big belly. (18 squares if you can believe it!)
But then just before Miss Margery was due to give birth, word spread in Joyville that something was wrong with the baby. It wasn’t moving so much and Miss Margery went to the big city’s hospital one day to get everything checked out.
Word was the baby was going to be retarded or something.
You could feel Joyville’s excitement deflate like a popped balloon. You could see it in everyone’s eyes when you walked to the corner store. Still, nothing would compare to what happened next when, just a week or so after her visit to the big city, Miss Margery and her husband drove back into the big city and came home empty-handed.
The baby died inside Miss Margery.
She didn’t know it was dead till she delivered it. A girl. I guess the doctors told her it most likely died shortly after the last visit.
They took pictures of the dead baby they named Gracie, and displayed a picture in a silver frame at the funeral at the end of the week.
I didn’t think much of it at first—the funeral of a dead baby. I was sad, naturally, but I didn’t think the funeral would be a big deal.
But then I saw the tiny coffin.
And I saw Miss Margery and her husband Jack holding onto each other as if they knew that if either of them let the other go, they’d crumble to the floor.
I saw Timmy and Carol sitting in the church pew, heads practically in their laps.
Everyone had tears in their eyes.
It was then that I knew I had to change things. I needed to start living my life because, as they say, life is short.
For some it’s shorter than others.
RIP sweet Gracie.
It's been a while since I've linked up with the Yeah Write Speakeasy folks. I've missed fiction. And while I had no intention of linking up with something so damn depressing... that's what happens sometimes, I guess.