Every day I walk by a funeral home. It is white with green shutters. The green shutters are there to compensate for the lack of a green lawn or any lawn. In the morning it is empty save a lone undertaker excited for a new day of work. On the way back to the train I see people. Almost everyday cars park there. People die everyday. Different people draw different crowds. Sometimes there are few cars, sometimes the lot fills and overflows to the side street. That is what a wake is, the overflow of water displaced.
Once I walked to the train. Wrestling had tired me, I grabbed a soda from the vending machine inside a chinese restaurant, Pu-Pu Chinese, and I dragged myself down the sidewalk. The lot teemed with dark dressed people making idle chatter. There was too much laughing. Must have been tragic. In front of me was a line of police officers. Probably cadets actually, because their gear said police but weren’t real police uniforms. They too were chatting. As I approached order broke out. They stepped back into attention facing the funeral home across the road. Something prepared to happen. I obstructed it. For a moment I froze, I could wait awkwardly for them or walk infront of 12 police cadets with rifles at attention. I scampered by them. They saluted the body in the building across the street and got into their van. One of them called to me to tell me to stay in school. Most people try to scamper by death, few wait for it to pass.
My train was late. How had the man died? I wondered. I imagined the hearse carrying the casket to a lush green cemetery, and the haunting bagpipes, and dry sermon with tired verse, and the rasp of soil on wood, and the weeping wife. I wondered if police officers got folded flags too and what merits a 21 gun salute. They aspired to be him, the cadets envied the life of the dead man
I would have thought more but my train came. I commute every day past death. What is life but the slow commute to death?
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