Super short fiction written for a class. Feel free to let me know what you think.
When I recognized the organist, I fought the urge to call Dave on my cell phone. Only Dave would find the humor in my sighting of this one-time high school celebrity who, as a popular senior, impersonated Elvis at pep assemblies more than thirty years ago.
“Just guess who the organist was!” I would say.
“You are kidding me!” he would laugh.
Then I spotted Kimmy across the aisle. Beyond celebrity, here was high school royalty. A cheerleader. Now I was dying to call Dave because this was too damn funny. To Dave, Kimmy was one of his older brother’s crowd, a family friend. To me...well, Dave knew the ancient, one-sided love/hate relationship I once had with the cheer squad based on my from-afar admiration and jealousy.
“Kimmy still looks gorgeous,” he might tease, “Oh, here she comes. Quick, put this bag over your head!”
I overcame the reflex to dig for my phone. With one heel, I nudged my purse under the pew. Interesting that so much of our friendship was conducted over the telephone. Dave enjoyed indulging in lengthy rants about the cranky cashier at the grocery store, retelling old tales about his brushes with fame in L.A. and initiating passionate debates on the heated Joan vs. Bette issue. For me, in the midst of unpaid bills, car repairs and kids needing their dinner, Dave was a connection to those distant high school days when we could and did laugh about everything... back when life was never too serious. Well, not for me at least. There might’ve been some more serious moments for a skinny sixteen-year-old boy who endured living with two quarterback brothers, wore out Donna Summer albums, and inexplicably made an inordinate amount of gay jokes.
It was time. My turn to walk up to the front of the church. Adrenaline jangled through my limbs. The sanctuary looked weird, like I was looking at it through a fish bowl turned upside down over my head. “Elvis” was singing Just a Closer Walk with Thee. When I reached the altar, I peered over the side of the polished wooden box. Though afraid this jarring image would never subside, I forced myself to take in the folded hands and neatly parted hair. I realized with relief that this moment was powerless to overshadow my memories. Dave wasn’t in there, not really, and that realization made the sight less disturbing. My only worry now was what would everyone think of me...when I turned back around dry-eyed? That I was cold-hearted and didn’t care? Still, I couldn’t cry. That was not my friend. I knew my Dave was somewhere else...some might say in Heaven, others might say living on in our memories. But Dave was nowhere to be seen in that suit buttoned up by a stranger’s hands nor in that powdered face shaved post-mortem, with artificial color on the lips. Well, actually, the part about wearing lip color wasn’t that far off.
Ha! That’s pretty funny. You know who would appreciate that one...?