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Judith Lawrence

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The Path vol. 4 no. 1
by Mary Nickum

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Green Carpet
By Judith Lawrence
Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Judith Lawrence
· Old Bones
· Christmas Gift
· Keeper of the Biscuit Tin
           >> View all 4


Funeral on a cold winter day.

I am numb with cold here in this bleak and desolate place. My son, whom I hardly know anymore, is holding my arm but I am not warmed. The cold seeps into my bones. 

            Next to the hole dug deep in the ground, the green turf covers the mound of earth with artificial brightness. The grey casket supported by straps lies suspended over the chasm. The priest says the words, ". . . ashes to ashes, dust to dust . . ." and pours the sand in the shape of a cross from a sterile vial. The funeral director presses the button to lower the coffin into the earth.

            This ceremony is outside of me, apart from my reality. When it is finished, I will return home and tell you of my morning's experience as I always do. We will have lunch and all will be as before.

            I am numb with cold. A block of ice is in my chest, my breathing hurts. The heavy weight of the fur coat is on my shoulders, a gift from you, a gift I did not want but could not refuse. I will not wear it after today. I wear it now only because my son insisted, my son who is so like you.

            My eyelids are cold behind my glasses. The tears collect at the corners of my eyes and run slowly down my cheeks. I look up and see the snow falling in big flakes, gathering on the carpeted mound. The snow will blanket the earth and settle on your grave. It is the right time in the seasons' circle for death to come upon you. It will be your winter's hibernation.

            I break free from my son's support and walk toward the mound. I reach under the coarse green covering and my hand closes around the cold wet earth. I throw the clod into the hole and it breaks into tiny pearl size offerings. It is my last gesture of love for you. I turn away, the smell of earth's promise of new life still on my fingers.

The End

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