BEING DEAD (Chapter 5) Funeral

“Shut up or you’ll give yourself away,” said John next to a funny looking man in large dark glasses and a ridiculous beard.

The man adjusted his facial hair and glared over at him.  “You shut up!”

“I still don’t know why you insisted you had to be here for this, Alan.”

“It’s MY funeral!  How many people get to attend their own funeral?”

John raised an eyebrow at him and smiled.  “All of them, actually.”

“You know what I mean!  Perhaps now I can finally be appreciated.”  He fixed his mustache and began to speak in a groveled tone.  “Now, let us grieve for this pitiful and amazing soul.”

“You got part of that right.”

Ahead of them stood a circle of few people staring over the gaping hole in the Earth where fake Alan was to be placed.  One of them caught Alan’s attention immediately like he had been struck by bolt of lightning.  It was Meagan and on her face was the saddest expression he had ever seen.  Before he could utter a sentence to John he noticed him making his way toward her.  He remained still—frozen in fear that she may recognize him, but when he realized that she may be hurting over the loss he made his way close enough to hear their conversation.

“Hello, Megan.”

“Hello, John.”

“I…I’m sorry..about all this…”

“It’s not your fault, John.”

“I know, but the letter and then—“

“It was me.  This is my fault, I know it.”  She said with tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Meagan, you can’t be serious.”

She sobbed silently for a moment and then looked up at him.  “I loved him, John.”

Both John and Alan were stunned at her words.  Alan almost fell over.

“I loved him with all of my heart.  I just wasn’t ready, y’know?  After all we had been through.  I know he’d changed and was working harder to be happy.  I just…I got comfortable without him…and to just accept him back…”  John put his hand on her shoulder.

“Meagan, please.  You couldn’t have known.  And nobody blames you.”  He said.

She sniffled loudly and then turned back to fake Alan’s casket.  “He told me he was content just knowing that I knew how he felt.  And I crushed it anyways, John.”

“He did love you very much.  But you did the best you could for yourself and you did what you thought was best.  This was all his choice.”  Explained John.

“But still…I…I…It was me though that drove him to t-this.”  She said crying harder.

John put his arms around her and held her closely.  Alan turned to see their embrace, but hid his jealous expression before he was seen.

“It’s alright, Meagan.  It’s alright.  I’m sure that wherever he is now, he knows how you really felt.”  He tossed his eyes over at the bearded figure and raised his eyebrows in condemnation.    Alan was appalled, but hid himself again.  The rest of the funeral was a blurry echo behind Meagan’s words replaying inside his head.

Afterwards, John walked her to her car and helped her get in after another long embrace.  As she pulled away Alan slowly emerged from behind a tree and slinked his way toward his friend.

“What the hell was that?!”  He shouted in his fake voice.

“Oh come off it.  You heard her!  Look what you’ve done!”  Said John.

“What I’ve done?  What were you doing?!”

“Consoling your lost love now that you aren’t alive to do so!”

Alan glared at him with his finger in John’s face.  “You have a fiancé!”

John shrugged, “Oh grow up!  Stop being jealous when there’s no reason to!”

“No reason to?!  I wasn’t the one holding her hand through the entire ceremony!”

John stopped and put a hand on Alan’s chest just below the long fake beard.  “Look, you’re not alive.  You lost the right to console the living.  In fact, you should take to heart what she said about you.  If you were alive, maybe there could have been something down the line, but now it can never be.  As your friend I pity you and hope that you reconsider this whole ordeal.”  He began to head toward his car.

“John!  John get back here!  We’ve come too far John!  And you know it never would have worked!  You’ve met me!  You know what I do to my relationships!”

John did not turn around.  “I’m well aware, Alan.  I am all too aware.”  He got into his car and drove off without a second glance at his now deceased friend—standing alone at his own funeral as his casket descended into the ground behind him.

“I don’t mean to, John.”  Said Alan, pulling the beard from his face.  “I really am better off dead.”


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