Lisa at a Funeral by Lauren Cervenak

The last time I saw you, you were waving from the living room window, while the TV flashed light into 9:30pm darkness. Your bed had been moved to the living room and dad had walked with you to the bathroom, afraid you would fall again. Too stubborn to move out. Now, all that’s left of you is in this ceramic urn sitting on a small table by the pulpit. 

I glance to the right. Aunt Claudia came with Aunt Ramona in Claudia’s Honda Civic. Claudia is next to her husband Jerry, Ramona is on the other side of her. Uncle Rogelio is standing next to his wife Sonora and Izzie, their youngest daughter. Rosemarie, Arthur, and Marty, grandpa’s chess buddies from the park are three pews behind us. Grandma is here; both of them never remarried after the divorce. Almost everyone else just came to nod their heads and frown and eat street tacos with lime juice and salsa verde. 

And then I look to my left and see Bart’s fucking bleached hair. It looks so tacky, because he didn’t do it right. Christ, why would he bleach his hair? It looks like shit. I mean just because the entire water polo team did it doesn’t mean he had to. 

Mom reaches for my hand and touches the scar on my wrist from when I tried cooking veggie patties in the oven two weeks ago. She mouths “What’s this?” And I mouth “oven.” Dieting, dieting, dieting. I moved to Ohio, where people don’t care as much, but I still want to lose the twenty pounds. But, now I’m back in southern California for my grandfather’s funeral. I can hear Claudia and Ramona whisper between Cousin Marshall’s speech. Marshall is Grandpa’s brother, who is two years younger and is wearing a blue polo shirt, because Grandpa didn’t want people to wear black. Claudia and Ramona are talking about how I’ve gotten fat and saying it’s because of the pandemic, it’s because I quit the swim team, or that I’m depressed because Marcus broke up with me. Well yeah, I’m upset. I mean I am at a funeral and by the way, Marcus, besides being an ass, was not a good conversationalist. 

My mind is drifting, but Jennifer, Clarissa, Jasmine, Michael, Geraldo, Sophia, Mimi, and Tomás are all spread out across the country, and so the only grandkids that are here are Izzie, Bart, and me. Bart’s real name is Orville. Bart, because we used to watch The Simpsons with Grandpa when we were younger and mom and dad had work. Grandpa would sit in his armchair grunting, motioning with his eyes and neck for us to pass the m&ms from the coffee table, while Bart and I sat on the rug. Now, the rug has been rolled up and the m&ms replaced with cacahuates. And Grandpa is just as dead as Bart’s hair.