One Last Reunion

Russell Parker drifted silently in the winter air above his freshly dug grave. The mourners shivered and wrapped their coats tighter around tense goose-bumped skin. Russ thought it strange that he never received this much attention when he was alive. There stood his brother Donald, face bland, eyes bored and Russ noted from this perspective that the old boy was going bald.

As he floated closer to the group he saw the deeper lines etched around his mother’s eyes. A black muffler and hat covered everything from her nose down. She was carefully ignoring Donald’s steadying hand while wiping her shiny eyes with a lace hanky. And Celie, a frozen, dead rose and indigo alligator tears, a widow now, after all. After years of Celie’s red-lipped sarcasm, Russ was pleased to see another expression on her face but malice.

But it was his daughter, Jamie, nine years old, her fingers clasped in Celie’s bony hand that moved Russell the deepest. Jamie’s wind chapped cheeks glistened with big tears and dark circles shaded hollows into her face. That child suffered more at Celie’s demand than he ever had. Russell saddened at the thought of the life his young Jamie would now lead. He wondered if he mourned for Jamie more than Celie mourned him.

Russ hovered slowly above the thirty some people and looked for Earl. There, over there by that oak tree, staring at a stray dog. Russ stopped in front of his buddy and gazing at the beard stubbled face, understood finally that Earl had used him most of his life. Rising up and turning, Russ figured most of that crowd wished they had been better to him when he was alive. Russ felt no anger at these semi-strangers, only gladness that a brief flicker of mortality clutched at each heart.

Russ drifted back to the graveside and stared down at the ornate brass and mahogany casket. A small ironic smile touched his wispy face. He had lived poorly and wanting most of his life. Now, his final resting place, new, glamorous satin and pillows. He was confused at the order of events but knew enlightenment was near. Looking skyward, Russ took one last glance back at his mother and daughter and barely noticed the dog pissing on Earl’s leg as the last prayers were being said.


Darla’s new perfume, Gravity, bought yesterday was the most intoxicating aroma she’d ever smelled. It would be perfect with an evening gown but today Darla put on jeans and a sweater. Thinking that maybe she should watch her expenses for perfume closer, Darla brushed out her hair and shoving her feet into a pair of slippers, made her way down to the kitchen for a cup of tea. As she brewed the tea she caught the heady scent of the perfume she’d applied a few moments ago and began to prepare some toast. Just as the teapot began to whistle, Darla swooned and fainted, falling to the cold marble of the kitchen floor.

Coming to a couple of minutes later, Darla pushed herself up off the floor wondering why she had passed out. Rubbing her glazed eyes, Darla heard the teapot screaming and hurried to turn off the burner. The toast was burnt, brown stubs and as she threw them out again caught a whiff of the fragrance drifting up. Feeling light headed, she grabbed the edge of the counter for support. A headache began to tear through her skull and she began to stagger back up the stairs when the pain grew worse. Grasping the railing, Darla looked down at her feet. They weren’t touching the landing. She was levitating higher and higher and her fingers lost their grip. As Darla drew a breath to scream, she again caught the lovely aroma of her new perfume and plunged twenty-five feet to the floor as Gravity took over.