. . . Jack is in the back seat and I’m driving. My car dies at the entrance of the cemetery. I ram my foot down on the pedal and turn the key over and over, but my car won’t start. It does however float off to the side of the cemetery gate.
We’re walking among the graves. There is a train, a small one, like in an amusement park. It’s dusk.
E.’s casket is unearthed, or maybe it has never been buried. It is open and we can see her. She is on a little hill of green, grassy earth and even though it is shadowy, there is a sort of fairy tale cheer about the place.
Someone approaches her and runs their fingers through her short, gray hair. This does not seem weird to me, but also it does seem weird to me. At her wake, I remember, we all remarked how they had not done her hair quite right. It was too spiky, too piecey. It looked like they had used too much product. We all sat and laughed, but it was a loving and fond laugh, about how she used to sit in her office and brush that short hair into a fluffy little puff. Oh, how we loved her.
Wait, I think. We’ve already done this. Why are we doing this again?
Someone bends down to get a closer look at E. Someone strokes her cheek. Someone kisses her forehead. I like seeing people touch and love on her. It comforts me. I want to touch her again too. I want to kiss her too.
But then we are all sitting in chairs. E. is sitting there too. She’s wearing her wedding dress, the royal blue suit in which she was buried. She’s there. She’s talking to us. She’s reading things from a paper in her hand. That seems right. That seems normal. She’s a born orator, even though it makes her nervous.
“I won’t be around forever,” she tells us. Part of my brain is wondering what this means because she is already gone, but she is also here. “I’d like to have one more party,” she says. We start talking about what we are going to wear. I get excited about the idea of digging up my pink tutu. We all laugh. “I might only be here for another ten years. We will have a party, and then you will have to live with whatever happens.” She says this and she looks right at me.
I’d love ten more years I think.
I’ll be good, I think. I won’t put pressure on you or try to change you. I’ll let you be. Just stay with me. I’m thinking all this and she’s looking right at me. I think maybe she is thinking that I need to let go.
Her face is changed. It’s her, but it’s not. I’m strangely mute. I can’t say any of the stuff I want to say.
We walk away to prepare for the party. I remember that my car is dead and I will have to call for a tow truck. My friend agrees to give me a ride, but she’s walking far ahead of me and I’m nervous that she will leave without me.
I walk past E.’s grave. It’s a big hole. I look down into it and the earth is deep and brown, but it is empty. I look up, and a little ways off, I see her casket. I look and it is open. I look and it is closed. I look and it is open and she is not in it. It all makes sense, and I’m more nervous about my car now.
And my kids.
Jack is with me, but Emily has gone off. We need to board the train. I yell for Emily to come. She comes. There’s not a lot of space on the little, amusement park train, but we cram into it. I am squished on the seat next to my friend. My kids are with me.
I’m nervous about my car. I’m excited about the party. I can’t wait to see E. I’ll be so happy to see E. There’s so much I’ve got to tell her.
I’m so excited to see E. . .
. . . and so sad to wake.