I’m glad she’s dead.
Wasn’t she the worst?
Good thing it’s a closed casket.
Some said she shouldn’t have a funeral, but here we are…
A frigid breeze quieted the women’s low chatter as handsome pallbearers breezed by. All done up in slick suits and black sunglasses, they strolled into the funeral hall, hauling a sleek and eerie jet-black casket atop their shoulders. The effort was without struggle as they set it down without a word or groan, then took a seat in the front row like a row of sexy, secretive spies.
Judson Grady, funeral director turned preacher-for-a-day, nodded greetings to everyone that came in, keeping a visual note of who all was in attendance, and who was not from the small community.
He held a borrowed bible in his left hand and a bouquet of jade chrysanthemums in his right. He’s a stout man sporting a two sizes too small black three-piece suit, early middle-aged and balding. He’d oversee the funeral of Miss Ezzy this afternoon and was much obliged to have the honor considering the cheerless day. Judson’s assistant, an awkward and lanky teenage boy in black jeans and gray flannel shirt, buzzes around with his phone, live-streaming the ceremony. No one paid him much mind. Judson set the good book and flowers down and knocked on the wooden podium. The hollow sound brought everyone’s attention to the death up ahead.
“Uh, welcome everyone, to Miss Ezzy’s funeral… You’ll have to excuse my pauses here. I’m still a little…” he clears his throat, fighting back turbulent emotions. He found courage somewhere deep down after rubbing his head for a bit, enabling himself to continue. “Not too long before she passed, Miss Ezzy came to me to talk. She was weary from life, absurd demands of others and the commonplace tramplin’ on her soul. Sometimes there’s only so much a human can take, and Miss Ezzy was taken too soon. You heard me. Yeah, you did. All y’all.” Judson’s pudgy, pointed finger swept the air towards the attendees. No one said a word.
“I’ll never forget Ezzy’s last words to me. She come on up here around o’dark thirty last Friday to confide in me. You know what she said? Miss Ezzy said, and I quote: I’m too weak for this world. I try to bring joy and I’m met with pain, soul-crushing pain. Regret sets in, anger, then they turn against me for reacting. I become a soaked sponge, a doormat, a forgotten square everyone uses to wipe their crap on, one step above used toilet paper. I could die and they’d still complain...
It pained me. Of course, I told Miss Ezzy she not no used toilet paper or doormat. Oh no. Heck no! Not Miss Ezzy. Y’all only saw in her what you wanted to be, happy. But you couldn’t, so you drained Miss Ezzy for it. If I can’t be happy, no one can. Now she dead. But y’all gonna learn today.”
Judson grinned and approached the closed black casket. He rubs his hands together with a secret to tell. After a somewhat embarrassing struggle, he opens it.
Miss Ezzy gently rises from the casket.
Waves of gasps and collective fears spread far and wide as the pallbearers help her climb down. She wears an off-shoulder champagne gold short dress, gleaming brighter than a diamond. Her fair waves brushes against her sun kissed skin, smooth as silk on the surface and tough as bricks below. No one could tell something died within when she shined like the sun. It was a death she needed, a death to the old Ezzy, the doormat.
Miss Ezzy’s soul was refreshed.
“Can you smile Miss Ezzy? Can you show all these folks what they gonna get? Smile for us and show them all!” Judson said. His hands almost reached Nirvana. His assistant swept over, zooming into Miss Ezzy’s face with the camera. Her glossed lips lengthen and draw upward sweetly. There’re dimples even, and a perfect sparkle in her gray-blue eyes… Then her smile descends into an armored glare. Her eyes narrow into two haunted pools filled with your darkest secrets. Everyone she lays eyes on froze in fear, and she looked at them all, multiple people per second. Some could turn away and fled ‘the look’ built from every discouraging word, every doormat moment, every unfair assumption, every strike against Miss Ezzy…
She kept looking, wandering. One woman in the crowd faints while another fled just as Ezzy was about to turn to him. The rest sat in their shock, watching, except for the pallbearers who sat entertained, grinning behind their shades, enchanted by Miss Ezzy’s beauty and absolute power, and unbothered by her face.
“Miss Ezzy not messin’ around now!” Judson yelled louder, both arms raised high and spread wide. “Smile, resting bitch face, SMILE! Show this ungrateful world who they dealin’ with now!” Miss Ezzy’s resting bitch face fills the room with dread. Judson continued. “Show them both sides! They not gonna mess with you! Not now! Not EVER!”
Patting his sweaty brow, Judson jogged alongside the organ, running his hand across the keys into a quick melody. He grabs the flowers and jumps off stage.
“I said, they not gonna mess with you up in here!” Judson screeched. He hands Ezzy the jade chrysanthemums and laughs, smiling and hugging her. Ezzy takes them, rubbing the smooth petals doused in a sharp herbal aroma along her flush cheeks. Her face flickers between gloom and glamour.
The pallbearers lift her up high, carrying her out with a chant, Ez-zy! Ez-zy! Her smile is back again, vivid and content as her new light replaces the dark. Judson Grady followed close behind, still preaching.
“Tougher and wiser!”
“Stronger and brighter!”
“You can’t kill her!”
Ez-zy! Ez-zy! Ez-zy!
The pallbearers’ mighty cheers echo into the sunshine as they carry Ezzy on like a magnificent goddess. Behind them, the past stayed. All suspended in their own darkness they’d have to find a path out of themselves. It didn’t matter to Miss Ezzy, they could stay in their dark place if they chose. However, she’d welcome them when ready to see the light for themselves.
Regardless, she’d be ready, with the relevant face… if anyone sought to shift her mood into a dark place.