I feel a drop of rain fall on my cheek just as they lower my father's casket into the ground. It wasn't supposed to rain today (sunny, clear skies actually) but I guess it's more appropriate.
My twin sister Kerry walks up next to me, clutching a white rose.
The cemetery is quiet for a few minutes, the only sound being the priest droning on about walking through a valley of shadow and death and whatnot.
Suddenly, Kerry says a bit loudly, "Dad was a drunk bastard," causing a few people to turn and look our way. Even the priest pauses for a beat, but continues on, his cheeks slightly pink.
I shush her and quietly say, "He wasn't all that bad." My tie feels like its choking me all of a sudden so I loosen it before continuing, "Remember that one time Mrs.
Henderson yelled at us for picking roses from her garden, so we could give them to Mom 'cause she was sick in bed?" Kerry continues to look forward, but nods her head in acknowledgement.
"Then Dad yelled back at Mrs. Henderson 'THEY'RE JUST KIDS, QUIT BEING SUCH A GRUMPY OLD HAG' and she stormed off...right into her own front door.
" I start to laugh not-so-quietly towards the end, and this time it's Kerry turning my way and shushing me, but I can tell she's smiling too.
I feel another raindrop fall on my forehead when Kerry says, "Or what about those weekends Dad would take us to the local wrestling matches?
I shouted my first swear word there, and instead of getting mad, he just laughed and said 'don't tell your mother you said that.
'" I nod enthusiastically, remembering the look on Kerry's face when that word slipped out.
She had smacked her mouth with both hands and opened her eyes so wide; I thought they would pop out of her head.
We stand in comfortable silence, the air of memories engulfing us completely. I finally say, "After Mom died, he wasn't the same. He just became depressed and lonely...but not a bastard."
Kerry shrugs as she says, "I guess so. I just miss the dad from when we were kids...and I wish he would have let us help him near the end.
" I hear her sniffle and see a drop of water--that has nothing to do with the sprinkles falling from the sky--slide down her cheek. She turns to me and whispers, "But he tried, didn't he?"
I wrap my arm around my only sister and kiss her forehead, "Yeah...he did."
We walk together toward the grave where the casket now lays six feet under.
As Kerry drops her rose onto the box, I feel warmth on the back of my neck and look to see the sun peeking through the clouds.
It only shines for a moment, but even when the sun is swallowed by the clouds again, I can still feel its warmth.