The moment I stood up I knew there was no going back. Any courage I had felt drained away and was instantly replaced by a myriad of fears. I stared at my feet, willing them to move. Heads began to turn from the front rows, like a wave of dominoes that came crashing towards me. Slowly, I slid past the strangers sitting with me in the last row. That walk to the front of the funeral home was the longest of my life.
The minister motioned to the podium and I found my place behind it. I began to study the wood grain in an attempt to avoid meeting the hard gazes of people I had never met. Silence only fed my fears, so I took a deep breath and looked up. (more…)
There is an assumption among those who have suffered little that the anticipation of pain is worse than the pain itself. They are greatly mistaken. At 17 years old I should not know this. I knew so little of pain before tonight, but schoolmaster Auditore saw to it that I received a proper education on the subject.
It is rare to possess enough clarity to trace our choices back to the first step of the path we find ourselves traveling. Maybe this is a gift of the pain. Neither my blood stained sheets nor the smile I wear alone in the darkness of my room would exist were it not for the gardener’s gate.