The Funeral – A Short Story

He sat there, a picture of age and death, his massive head lying on his withered shoulders. His nose, once sharp and elegant, was now bulbous. His eyes were reduced to liquid pools, clouded with confusion.

Strands of wispy white hair stood on his head. Tom held a pensive expression on his face as he sat on the armchair looking forlornly at the blue-laced precious moments photo album. The photo album, although plain and simple, held fond and precious memories for the old loving couple. As he flipped through pages after pages, memories of the past reeled like a film in his mind.

From the beginning of their relationship, where sparks flew endlessly, he never thought he could ever love someone so deeply. Never. Even now that she was gone, their love was not dead yet. Her departure had not made any difference in his love for her.

All around him, copious cries of sadness from family and friends were overwhelming. Yet, he seemed indifferent to everything, totally withdrawn into a world of his own…

“ I am sorry.” These were the three cold, hard and merciless words the doctor had slammed right into Tom’s face when he came out of the operation theatre. Although short and simple, those words had magnified to be louder than anything else he had ever heard and at that moment, everything seemed to come to a halt. “How could it be??” Tom was angst-stricken and devastated. Immense grief paralyzed him.

His wife, Mary, had been diagnosed with the second stage of cancer last month. She only consented to undergo the operation after much persuasion from Tom and the doctor. Tom had told her that her worries were uncalled for as the success rate was ninety percent. She was not going to die. They would fulfill their promises of staying together forever.

Alas, the unexpected happened. She never managed to step out of the operation theatre alive. Their dream of a sedentary and happy life was crushed

Tom realized the exact scene that had taken place only a few hours ago vividly. But it already seemed like forever. He continued reminiscing about the past of Mary and him as he flipped to the last page of the photo album.

Suddenly, Tom’s daughter sensed that something was amiss. Tom had not moved an inch for the past hour. She moved towards her father and started nudging him. “ Dad? Dad!” She exclaimed. Tom did not stir the least bit. He had breathed his last while the rest of the family and friends were still crying copiously, mourning over the loss of their beloved Mary.

The next day, the funeral was held. Both Tom’s and Mary’s photos were placed on the altar, and their bodies placed next to each other in a specially customized coffin.

Tom had joined Mary in the Netherworld on the same day. Even till death, they would never be apart. The promise remained intact.

Written by rachel koh rz