122 comments

Mystery


Michael Sebastian, 44, breathed his last in the early evening of 8th November 2015 after his long-term affair with liver cancer. He is survived by his wife of 18 years, Sandra and his two sons, Christopher and Benjamin. 


Michael was a man of many talents –– a musician, a chemist and a bar owner. He had an enigmatic personality and made friends wherever he went. He also had a flair for helping people in need and has touched the lives of innumerable people with his kindness and generosity. He was known for his twisted sense of humor, and he never cared about hurting anyone’s feelings. Despite holding a high social status, he was a hard man to live with. His wife and children hope he finally finds peace with himself. The funeral will be held at 11 am, Saturday, 10th November at his hometown church. Family and friends are welcome to a gathering with refreshments after the service. 



***

Dear whoever is reading is this,


Can you keep a secret? Don’t look so eager. It is meant to be a rhetorical question, not a confession. As far as the secret life of secrets is concerned, there is nothing earth-shattering about the secret I hold. Neither will it alter anyone’s life.


So…here it is. I hate funerals. Yes, you heard it right. In fact, I hate everything about them. Too many people. Black clothes. Blank faces. Insignificant conversations. The same old story. 


What’s so special about me hating funerals? Who doesn’t! Before you turn on the aggressive criticism and dismiss me as yet another whiny Gen X, please hear me out. 


***


When I was 14, my father passed away and I felt nothing. Anyone who looked from outside would see a normal man, but he wasn’t normal. Not by any conventional standards. He was mean, emotionally abusive. We were nothing but two strangers sharing the same house who would occasionally exchange weird pleasantries. If not for my mother who always acted as a buffer between us, things would have been even worse. I attended his funeral, for the sake of my mother. She looked heartbroken and I wanted to be there for her, to offer support. I wish she hadn’t tried so hard to change him. I wish she hadn’t wasted her life over someone who never deserved her. 


A few years later, I lost my mother and it was a completely different experience. I was devastated. She was my world. My anchor. I blindly assumed the grief would get better and easier over the years, but it never did. Slowly, more people started dying in my family. Grandparents. Uncles. Cousins. I never attended the funerals. After a while, people stopped expecting me to. 


It brings me back to the third funeral in my life, the one I am going to attend tomorrow. I wish I could hide in some dark corner without anyone noticing and let it all pass. But, according to the funeral etiquette rulebook, my presence is absolutely necessary. And that leaves me no choice. 


***


Finally, the day of the funeral has arrived and I find myself dressed in a stuffy suit, the stench of embalming liquid tickling my nose. Around fifty people have turned up. I recognize some of the faces. People I grew up with. People I worked with. People I fought with.


The old church still looks the same –– slightly gothic with high marble columns and huge glass-stained windows. Most of my childhood memories center around this place and the Sunday services my mother forced me to attend. My father always stayed home and I envied him for that. 


The coffin looks gorgeous...and expensive. Made of good quality wood. Polished. With a smooth cushion lining. As pompous as the man himself. Must have cost them a fortune. Cheap funerals aren’t trending anymore. There is even an app to plan the funerals, if you are one of those tech-savvy types. I don’t get the hype. All we need is a hole in the ground and a cross. 


The weather is gorgeous today. Perfect for a funeral. Sunny sky. Blooming flowers. Chirping birds. Horrible poetic skills.


A door opens somewhere and the priest comes out, accompanied by the man’s wife and two children. Why are they here? The man had cut ties with his family a long long time back. There was no anger and bitterness involved. One fine day, he packed his belongings and left home, only to return years later, in the form of a corpse. They shouldn’t have come. Now that they are here, what are they going to do? Watch the man go under the ground, with a smile? Or squeeze out some tears and put on a good show? Awkward. This is why I hate funerals. 


***

The priest starts to read out a passage about the journey between the beginning and the end. Life is temporary, death is permanent and all that nonsense. Someone coughs. Someone yawns. It is alright. I feel for you all. If I were in your place, I would be thinking about the missed football game too. 


One by one, everyone comes forward, to deliver the prepared eulogy speech.


Michael has been a dear friend and a devoted husband…


His love for his sons was something I had always admired in him…


When I think of Michael as a boy, the first memory that comes up is how much he loved swimming in the lake...


Empty words. Not an ounce of emotion in them. They never tell the complete truth. It is always an exaggerated idealized version of the real person. Whom are they trying to impress? The dead? Or the living? A chuckle threatens to escape my throat and I swallow it down, considering the inappropriateness of the situation.


The truth is –– I was a lousy husband... and a lousier father. I am glad my wife came to her senses and threw me out of the house. Something my mother should have done too, to her husband. 


Approaching footsteps. Hushed whispers. 


Four pairs of burly arms lift me off the ground before clumsily lowering me into a dark pit. Ow! They aren’t gentle. Dirt. I smell dirt. Uncomfortable. More dirt. Crammed.


Formalities are done, and they all begin to walk away. My wife and sons are the last ones to leave. What now? Wilted flowers, damp mud and me? What the hell am I going to do here all alone? Reflect upon my life –– a sad, pathetic excuse for one?


Too quiet. Too warm. Can’t breathe. Hello! Is anyone there?


***



Dear whoever is reading this, 


Can you keep another secret? I. Hate. Funerals. 










August 21, 2020 16:15

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122 comments

Hriday Saboo
14:11 Aug 24, 2020

Wow. Loved the story. I have submitted my new story Pls read it

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Roshna Rusiniya
14:23 Aug 24, 2020

Thank you. Will check.

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14:11 Aug 23, 2020

Woah! This story is dark, yet beautiful. Your writing style is amazing. The storyline itself was terrific, and I agree with Skyler Woods that it completely caught me off guard for the ending. Wonderful job. Keep writing and stay healthy, Your Reedsy Friend (and Fan) - Brooke

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Roshna Rusiniya
15:22 Aug 23, 2020

You are very sweet! And ofcourse I am your friend and fan too. ❤️

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23:56 Aug 23, 2020

:D Aw, thanks <3

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Doubra Akika
12:08 Aug 22, 2020

I loved this Roshna!!! Like many of your other stories, this was amazing! I'm happy I checked it out. Loved the point of view and the approach to the prompt. Please keep writing! This was fantastic. "The weather is gorgeous today. Perfect for a funeral. Sunny sky. Blooming flowers. Chirping birds. Horrible poetic skills." Loved this bit a lot. I laughed reading this. Thought some bits were funny, but maybe that's just my opinion 😂🤣. Anyway, take care of yourself and stay safe!

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Roshna Rusiniya
12:13 Aug 22, 2020

Thank you Doubra for reading! I am glad you liked it. I intentionally added some humor into it because I didn’t want it to look like a tragic tale of a dead man even though it was written from his perspective. You take care too!🤗

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Doubra Akika
12:31 Aug 22, 2020

I get that! The little bits of humor definitely did the trick!

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K V Chidambaram
12:27 Aug 28, 2020

Intentionally or Internationally ??

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Roshna Rusiniya
14:25 Aug 28, 2020

Aw! I wondering what that was. Thanks for spotting it. It was a typo. I meant ‘intentionally’. :)

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Raquel Rodriguez
00:44 Dec 15, 2020

Hey Roshna! I love how you explained how Michael had liver cancer, he had an affair with it. Great job! Love how you explain everything in your story, it's very detailed and intricate. My favorite sentence was 'One fine day, he packed his belongings and left home, only to return years later, in the form of a corpse.' This story was so good, and I enjoyed reading it so much! Keep writing! :)

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01:34 Sep 25, 2020

Hey, Roshna would you be kind to watch the first video it's on Harry potter. https://youtu.be/KxfnREWgN14 Sorry for asking your time, This my first time to edit Video

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Amogh Kasat
07:52 Sep 07, 2020

It's a wonderful story! Please read my latest story

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01:15 Aug 27, 2020

Great story! I loved it! I like how you added some humor to the story!

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Roshna Rusiniya
06:40 Aug 27, 2020

Thank you!:)

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D. Jaymz
00:56 Aug 25, 2020

Roshna, a fantastic satirical look at a funeral from a unique point of view 👏 A macabre delight. Very well-written. The sentence, 'But, according to the funeral etiquette rulebook, my presence is absolutely necessary.', was a great use of foreshadowing 👍 The narrative voice was perfect for the occasion. The voice felt like it was dragging through a sarcastic bush of lilies as it scraped through the mud, not kicking or screaming, but resigned to a rather boring ever after. I loved it. The pace throughout the story lent a lot to th...

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:26 Aug 25, 2020

Thank you dear friend! For the great feedback and the suggestions🤗 This wasn’t an easy story to write. I almost didn’t submit. Seeing the positive comments, I’m glad I did. As with the suggestions, I changed the ‘too’ to ‘so’ and ‘here’ to ‘there’. Your explanation made sense. I was thinking about the title but my story got approved. 😀

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D. Jaymz
14:41 Aug 25, 2020

I'm happy to be of any help to polish your writing 😊

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Roshna Rusiniya
16:37 Aug 25, 2020

That’s very kind of you! I wish I could return the same favour. But I am too inexperienced for that. Maybe one day. 😬😀

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D. Jaymz
18:50 Aug 25, 2020

Experience is on a continuum that all of us struggle to move a little farther towards a proficient twilight of words. You have a lot of skills already. Story by story, you are becoming 'more'. Your muse must have whispered something in my a-musing ear, because you started me on an idea for this week's prompt, abandoning my previous tale. Thank you for the inspiration.

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Roshna Rusiniya
02:51 Aug 26, 2020

Aw! I am glad. Looking forward to read it. I have a half-written story lying somewhere deep in my mind. I am going to polish it and see how it works.

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Carly Kapusinsky
13:39 Aug 24, 2020

I had such a fun time reading this! That was a great way to twist the prompt, and it was so well written! You could really hear the narrator’s personality through his monologue.

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:46 Aug 24, 2020

Thank you Carly for reading and commenting. Really appreciate it! :)

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Bruce Friedman
15:53 Aug 21, 2021

I like the idea of the "narrator’s personality." I have been laboring under the idea of the neutral omniscient third party narrator but now I understand that this is not essential. The narrator can manifest. his/her own personality.

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Mary Rothery
13:08 Aug 24, 2020

I loved this! Great twist there!

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Roshna Rusiniya
13:19 Aug 24, 2020

Thank you Mary! Appreciate you reading and commenting! :)

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. .
02:18 Aug 24, 2020

This was so good! Very dark but bright in its own way. The descriptions were on point and so was the whole story! I mean... all I can say is WOW!

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Roshna Rusiniya
03:20 Aug 24, 2020

Thank you sweety! ❤️

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Skyler Woods
08:26 Aug 23, 2020

Wow! That was devastatingly dark! It completely caught me off guard at the end! I'm astonished! 😱

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Roshna Rusiniya
10:21 Aug 23, 2020

Thank you dear for reading. ‘ Caught off guard’. That was the reaction I was looking for. 😂

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Niveeidha Palani
07:29 Aug 23, 2020

Hi Roshna! This story was so comical and I love how you ended the story with a bang! 😂 It was a little sad, and it really answered the prompt! A little touch of humour is always lovely, and you brought this story to life! Stay safe, and have a great day! :)

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Roshna Rusiniya
08:07 Aug 23, 2020

Thanks dear! I didn’t want it to look like a dead man’s tragic story. So I added a bit of humor to it. Take care and stay safe too! 🤗

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Niveeidha Palani
11:55 Aug 23, 2020

Haha, actually, it didn't look like a dead man's tragic story, so you don't have to worry :) The humour was amazing! 👩‍🦰

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Nandan Prasad
07:29 Aug 23, 2020

Wow, I didn't expect that ending at all! Very well-written. The bits of humour add life (har har) to it, and I really enjoyed it. As always, great job and keep writing!

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Roshna Rusiniya
08:05 Aug 23, 2020

Thank you Nandan. Really appreciate you reading and commenting. Have a great day! :)

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Nandan Prasad
08:36 Aug 23, 2020

Thanks! You too.

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Niveeidha Palani
05:39 Mar 02, 2021

Hi Roshna. It's been a pretty long time since you were inactive. Wanted to ask if you're ever coming back? We're all missing you back here. Please come back! 🤗

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Hriday Saboo
08:17 Sep 20, 2020

Would you mind chking out me new story the zombies

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Niveeidha Palani
02:03 Sep 13, 2020

Hi Roshna, it's been a long time since you've been online on Reedsy. (I don't mean to pry, or poke my nose in this) Is everything okay? Or are you just on a vacation break? Just wanted to check! :)

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Roshna Rusiniya
18:06 Sep 13, 2020

Hi Niveeidha, that’s so sweet of you to check. I am on a break actually. Little ones’ school started. Helping them settle down with the new year. Will be back. Take care. Thank you for checking. ❤️🤗

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Niveeidha Palani
06:44 Sep 14, 2020

Ah, I see. Aww, yes, it must be such a hustle when they start school. No worries, take care too.

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Tejas Chandna
18:18 Sep 09, 2020

I loved it! It's calm, soothing, and serene. Beauty lies in despondency, which has been grounded so well in your story. Loved it! Can you read my story "Freedom to fire the flies"?

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Anika G
01:22 Sep 01, 2020

I love this story! I had a creeping suspicion the entire time that the third funeral he went to was his own. Great writing, very entertaining!! :)

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Hriday Saboo
06:14 Aug 31, 2020

Hey Roshna I hv submitted another new story pls chk

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