A wreath of flowers, scarlet and orange and golden, laced with dark green leaves. Wreathes and more wreathes, and flower arrangements. The bright petals shine like a sunny day. So many flowers, a garden condensed and turned on its side and brought into this crowded room, a sea of flowers and colors on the shore of black-clad people. On each wreath or arrangement is pinned a little white card, across which march prim black letters. Condolences. With deepest sympathy. The flowers shine against the solemn people. (Their tears form another sea, their talk murmurs like the washing of waves.) At the front of the room, the focus of all the attention--the altar around which the flowers congregate, the one we are here for and the one we can barely stand to look at--lies waxen and still.
I did not feel until I saw the flowers. I did not cry until I read their stiff cards.
We will never see him again. The colors are too bright for such a dark time. The colors are bold, are harsh: are like life. We are here in a room devoted to his death, yet life is all around.
We leave the room, slowly, holding dampened and crushed tissues. We go out into the cold night air, under the black sky, and the silent stars. We go out into life.