The state of the body

He looked so hollow in his little box, surrounded by God and all the unlit penny candles. The living lines of his face were erased. I could see the gray in his hair, a fine drift of curls I had not noticed before. His untamed eyebrows were freshly barbered, his flamboyant complexion struck butter-dull. This is what was left of my father: a plastic sculpture of what he looked like, not who he was. This was not the Papa-Monster who rubbed his 12-hour beard across my giggling face, or the Singing Papa Bear, his hushed baritone leading me to the good sleep beyond the bad dreams. 

The church was empty and I stood alone. Perhaps Father Miguel was behind me, watching me become a man at eleven years of age, perhaps waiting for the first manifestation of physical grief, I do not know. I did not cry or whimper or buckle. The church could have been full, it did not matter, I was still alone, and it was right that I should be. Alone with my father. The state of his body did not matter, except that it meant his soul was nearby, studying me, listening to me, reading my heart. He helped me to walk through the rest of that day, and the days that followed. My grief, I decided, would be a private thing, something between him and me.

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Author: Steven Baird

Writer, amateur photographer, ad compositor and chicken herder.

8 thoughts on “The state of the body”

  1. I love the last line! I have had some losses in 2019 and that is precisely how I feel…..

    * Tomi Rues*

    *“A well-read woman is a dangerous creature*.” ~Lisa Kleypas

    On Mon, Aug 5, 2019 at 10:51 AM Ordinary Handsome wrote:

    > Steven Baird posted: “He looked so hollow in his little box, surrounded by > God and all the unlit penny candles. The living lines of his face were > erased. I could see the gray in his hair, a fine drift of curls I had not > noticed before. His untamed eyebrows were freshly barbere” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The heartrending thoughts of a child whose father has just died and who is trying to handle the burden as he thinks an adult would. It’s difficult at any age but especially hard for a child. Fantastic, Steven. —- Suzanne

    Like

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