“Hello William,” rasped Roberta, her throat raw from strep and sniffles, barely audible over the pre-service chatter. William did not turn or even nod his head in her direction. ”Humph. Figures,” she said shuffling toward the sanctuary.
Roberta was late to the First Congregational Church on Third Street. She hated tardiness from her school teacher days, but it was not her funeral so probably not a big deal. The vestibule, full of military veterans wore drab green hats trimmed in yellow teetering on their brows. Some late comers left their coats over their shoulders or uncomfortably hung them over their hands for something to do.
The widow’s wheelchair blocked the aisle, all witnesses bent down for a word, an arm around her shoulder. She thanked each for attending and filling the church for her Gill. Roberta hugged her neighbor who lost half a leg to diabetes and now her second husband to old age. ”I’m s-sorry for your loss,” caught in Roberta’s ragged throat and burst suddenly in her neighbor’s ear. ”If there is anything I can do, Helen.” Helen just nodded. They shared a moment eyes locked at arms length, their gnarled fingers wrapped behind each others elbows. Both knew they would not see the other until one lay in a box at the altar. It’s alright. We live our lives thought Roberta.
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