JONI IS REALLY SAD
Joni trips on the step as she enters Murdock Funeral Home. She passes Michael Murdock who flashes her a large plastic smile. Joni does not respond.
She sees the layout: the casket with Robert is straight ahead, a cluster of people—presumably the family—stands past the casket, and a line is queued to view the body. Joni joins the line to wait her turn. Two people turn toward her. Their expressions, like Joni’s, are blank.
Two from the family cluster, a man and a woman, lean toward one another. The woman shrugs and they both look at Joni.
Joni steps to the side of the bier. She plants both feet in the plush carpet and holds to the casket with both hands. Her lips and chin tremble and her body shakes. The casket vibrates in sympathy. No one approaches with concern.
Joni leans toward the prone body and strokes Robert’s forehead. She bends to kiss his cheek.She turns away, eyes glistening, and bypasses the family grouping.
“Nice seeing you tonight,” says Mr. Murdock. Joni does not answer. She steps into the night.
The family whispers among themselves, raise their eyebrows and shake their heads.
Three hours later, Mr. Murdock invites the family to stand by the casket before he lowers the lid. He reaches toward Robert, pulling a watch from his left wrist, a finely crafted piece of jewelry with diamonds circling the bezel.
“You may want this,” he says, handing it to the oldest son.
He takes the watch, his brow questioning, and turns the watch over and reads an inscription on the back:
To Robert with Love,
I still remember.