New Beginnings, Episode 5, Part 3
People always talk about where they were when they first heard about The Correspondent. She came out of nowhere and tried to make a difference. Some saw her as a beacon of hope, others as a sign of how far down the slope we had come. I never paid attention to all of that. I was too busy. Too busy working to pay my bills, too busy trying to figure out life. I was seventeen when it started. I was The Correspondent. This is my story.
Having not been to a lot of funerals I can’t tell if my dad’s was nice. I thought it was nice. There was a lot of people I vaguely recognized at the memorial service. They had all bee customers of the hardware store and they all gave me the same sad smile. I hated it but understood. What could they say? Nothing would be too much.
My part of the service was the hardest. My mom hadn’t asked if I wanted to say anything, probably wondering if I still could since I hadn’t spoken much since he died. But the night before I had asked her if I could say a few words. She hugged me tight and said, “He would love that.”
The guy leading the service introduced me to the gathered mass of people. I was sitting in the front row, mere feet from where my dad’s urn was. I sat there staring at the urn, unmoving, until my mom nudged me. Getting up, I walked slowly to the podium. A brief panic hit me when I remembered how much I had hated giving speeches in high school. Imagining everyone naked at my dad’s funeral seemed wrong, but it helped.
I stood staring out at the people, wondering what to say, hoping that what I was going to say would be enough. Clearing my throat I focused on my mom and started talking.
“I didn’t want my dad to die. But it isn’t as simple as all of that. My dad was the best person I know. He took care of me when I was sick, helpped me with my homework and taught me the value of hard work. But that isn’t all my dad is, was.
I look out on all of you and I see people I know and people I don’t. How is it that one man can draw so many people to his funeral? Most of you have known me since I was a little girl, wondering down the aisles of the store, swinging my little hammer.”
This gets a few laughs, and I felt more comfortable. I look around at the audience scanning for people I know. I see a couple of smiles from the stores regulars, guys who had taught me to swear and then denied it when my mom caught them. I was smiling when I continued.
“It has been a hard year for us. But this whole community has been here for us. Helping out how you can and providing us with love when we needed it most. Thank you.”
I bowed my head, “I miss you, dad.”
When I looked up, tears were blearing my vision. Through my tears I saw a man standing in the doorway to the room. A short man, wearing a brown suit, his face down. But I would recognize that nose anywhere.
The Rat had come back.
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Dylan Reed has always been interested in a good story. Raised without a TV he spent a lot of time with books and loves reading. Dylan has been a professional entertainer, studied commercial diving, and loves random trivia. He brings all of this and more together in his stories.