Chapter 3 – Part 2
Robbie: The Funeral (Before the Tea)
When people started filtering into the lobby, Robbie make a quick escape and wandered down a hall until he found a small library. He didn’t want to be around other people. Their grief annoyed him. He knew he was being unfair. But they didn’t know his mom like he and his sisters and dad did. They would come to the funeral, cry, and then go back into the world like nothing had happened. But his life would never be the same.
He hid in the library waiting for the funeral to start. His plan was to sneak into the back. That was the other thing. They were all supposed to file in and sit up at the front. He didn’t want to cry in front of people. He didn’t want people staring. He would sit in the back rather than participate in the circus act.
He could hear the muted voices of people talking in the lobby so he knew it hadn’t started yet. He was sitting on the floor again with his head leaning against the wall. The room was dark and the smell of old books, paper, and ink lingered in the air. It was comforting him and reminded him of when he was kid and his mom would take him to the library.
As the sound of the voices got quieter, he checked his phone. It was 12:59 pm which meant that the last few stragglers would be going inside the sanctuary to grab seats before it started. He would wait a couple more minutes to avoid any stragglers. The eulogy wasn’t until after a few songs anyway, so he wasn’t worried about missing his cue.
He stood up and wiped the sweat from his shaking hands. When he finally sneaked back down the hallway, he listened carefully for voices. All he could hear was the preacher, his microphoned voice filling the lobby. He had just stepped into the lobby when he saw his dad still standing in front of the main doors. He veered course and walked towards his dad to check to see if he was okay.
At this point, two things happened. First, his father went from passive to furiously angry in a second. He leaped the stairs to the sidewalk and stood there like a miniature Hulk.
He rarely ever seen his dad angry. When he looked out the doors to see what had enraged him, Robbie saw a man walking down the sidewalk towards the front steps. He was a big man, both tall and girthy. His father was shorter and leaner and definitely didn’t look like he should be getting in a fight with this man.
Robbie about to join his dad on the sidewalk to help him when their voices elevated and he heard what they were saying.
“I have a right to see him,” the man said.
“Get lost,” his dad said. “You lost that right to see him when you abandoned him.”
“He’s my son.”
“Not anymore. He doesn’t know you exist.”
“I let Katherine convince me not to see him, but now she’s gone. You don’t get to tell me I don’t get to see my son.”
“Robbie is MY son!” his dad said, spit spraying from his mouth. “I don’t care what your DNA says!”
Robbie froze. Everything seemed to tilt oddly to the side. He grasped the door frame to keep from falling over.
The man tried to push past his dad, but his dad gripped the man’s arm. “Whatever rights you think you have, now is not the time. This is a funeral.”
The man hesitated, then pulled his arm from his dad’s grasp. “Fine. But I will see my son today.” He turned around and strode off. His dad straightened his suit, watching the man walk away.
Robbie turned back inside before he his dad saw him and slipped in the back of service. He stared at the eulogy in his hands no longer knowing what was true.