CHAPTER 1: AT THE FUNERAL.
"For crying out loud, can't you even pretend that we're okay, even at your aunt's funeral?" Trevor was frustrated, but he said those words biting down his lips, to not be audible before the already gazing onlookers.
She had already created a scene.
He couldn't believe that his wife, Elizabeth Smith, could embarrass him at such a place where everyone is to sober up and pay his last respect to the dead.
That didn't matter to her anyway.
She did what she did, embarrassing not just Trevor, but herself also. Folks close to them were used to her bickering, but to do so in front of total strangers, meant her disdain for her husband ran deep.
Embarrassed and frustrated, Trevor walked away from his wife going outside the front porch, he sat down, taking deep sigh as his head hung low.
'How could she have said she wished I was the one being buried.' He reminisced on what she said a while ago.
His heart ached, lost in his thoughts, as a hand was placed on his left shoulder. In fright, he snapped out of his wandering thoughts.
Before he could look, the person already bent low to sit beside him. It was his friend, Paul. "That was harsh of her to have said such. What a nerve!" Paul said, trying to console his friend, looking forward as though he stared at something.
Normally, Trevor would have tried defending her but this time, he was grieved. Trevor could still see folks mumbling words in whispers, as they turned in his direction, throwing glances at him. He knew that they were talking about him.
'What were they saying?' He thought to himself.
"Are you sure you want to be here now?" Paul asked Trevor, this time looking at him.
"I'll stay a bit," Trevor replied.
A waiter passed by them, and Paul signaled him with a finger, beckoning on him to give them a glass of wine each. Paul smiled in appreciation to the waiter as he took the glasses of wine, offering Trevor one of it. But he declined.
"Hey, they say 'A merry heart does good like medicine', so you better take this drink." Paul said trying to cheer Trevor up.
"We're at a funeral. There's no reason to be merry." Trevor said, still refusing to take the drink.
"Dude, take this drink." Paul insisted.
Nonchalantly, Trevor accepted the drink, gulping it down like a man parched with thirst, wandering the desert.
"How did we get this way? We used to be together. What happened to us Paul, what happened?" Trevor tried holding back his tears from rolling down his surprisingly smooth skin. He didn't want to further prove to folks that he was a sissy. He took a deep breath, holding in the tears.
"I don't know Trev. Stuff like this happens at some point in our life." Paul spoke incoherently, he didn't know what to say or how to console the distraught heart of his friend. What he said really didn't matter to Trevor, just his support by being present with him was all he needed.
"Uncle Trevor." A little girl ran towards him gleaning with excitement, and fell into his bosom. It was Paul's daughter, Michelle.
"Hey sweetie. Where have you been?" Trevor asked. She was indeed a sight for sore eyes.
"I was with mom, then I went play with the other kids." Michelle replied, childishly in his arms. But then, isn't she just a child being a child?
Michelle's innocence was just so pure, and it made Trevor wish that life could just be so simple. He found temporal solace in the presence of the little girl, and the distraction she afforded him.
Standing up from his seated position, he took her up in his arms and walked in to the house. The burial had already been done, so everyone were at liberty to help themselves to a buffet of meal prepared by caterers. Getting to where the food was placed, he placed her gently on the floor to stand by herself, as he helped himself to some meal, and so did Michelle.
Paul joined them, as he also served himself. "Where's your mom?" He asked his daughter concerned that she may not have eaten yet.
"I don't know where she is." Michelle said munching on her meal.
"Let me go find her." He left Trevor and his daughter in search of his wife.
From a corner, Elizabeth saw Trevor with Michelle. She was envious of the genuine smile and happiness he expressed, playfully feeding and being fed by the little girl. That sight made her think.
'This is what I always wanted.' She snapped out of her thought and continued conversing with her relatives, the children of her deceased aunt.
"What is he still doing here? I thought he left already when he walked away from you." Mrs. Smith, Elizabeth's mother said with disdain that was noticeable by those who beheld her countenance.
"I don't know mum." Elizabeth said rolling her eyes, shrugging it off as though Trevor wasn't worth talking about.
"A mistake for a husband, that's what he is. I can't believe you ever saw anything good in him." Mrs. Smith snarled frowningly. If it was up to her, she'd have him kicked out that vicinity. She loathed him, maybe even more than her daughter.
Trevor raised his head looking sideways, as he locked gaze with Mrs. Smith. He smiled at her in salutation, but she made no gesture in acknowledgement. All he saw was the disdain. He shrugged it off thinking, 'Oh well, it is what it is.'
Mrs. Smith elegantly walked gracefully towards Trevor, putting on a smile as she greeted folks who were offering their condolences for her loss. She was always good at putting up a good act when necessary, as occasion demanded.
"So, you're still around? I thought you wouldn't come in the first place." Mrs. Smith said looking away, still smiling and waving at folks who looked her way. Trevor remained silent. "I guess since you're jobless and have nothing doing, you could make it." This she said looking straight at him, smiling though, but it was still her acting skills playing out, masking the true disdain deep within her for her son in-law, Trevor.
"Mrs. Smith, I am here out of respect for your sister, Sally." Trevor said calmly as he sent Michelle away, so as not to be witness anything foul, in case it did.
"Don't you dare say that name!" She said sternly this time, after already landing a slap on his cheek, unable to contain her displeasure. "You think I don't remember how you hated her? What respect do you have for her? You're just here to rub it off on her one final time."
The room got awfully quiet. She was already creating a scene.
Trevor was in shock, and at the same time further embarrassed. The little moment of solace Michelle afforded him was whisked away.
"Ma'am, I have never hated your sister. We may not have seen eye to eye and had our differences, but I never hated her." Trevor said in his defense. But Mrs. Smith laughed hysterically to mock Trevor.
"I wish it was you being buried today." Mrs. Smith reiterated what her daughter had said to Trevor.
Hurt deeply at that statement, Trevor stormed out of the house. That was the last straw. He had had enough of the embarrassment. Elizabeth just stood there watching him walk out of the house. Visitors who hadn't seen them since their wedding day were thrown aback, and they were left to wonder what the hell was going on.
"Trevor. Hey buddy, wait up." Paul ran up to Trevor who was already by the road, headed down the street.
Trevor couldn't tell what he felt. He was angry, heart broken, embarrassed. He couldn't even say what ailed him. He just knew he had to skedaddle, leaving that place. It was a place of mourning, but it seems his pain ran deeper than they who actually lost someone.
"Trevor, where are going?" Paul asked as he caught up with Trevor.
"Anywhere but here." Trevor said angrily, as he kept walking briskly.
Paul stood in front of him, blocking his way, "Trev, I know you're hurt, but I don't want you to do something irrational."
"In all your years of knowing me, growing up as kids, have I ever been one who had outbursts of rage?" Trevor said taking in a deep breath, looking intently at his friend, trying not to transfer aggression to his friend.
"I know you don't, bu- "
"I just want to be left alone." Trevor interrupted.
"Alright buddy. So where will you go to?" Paul asked really concerned.
"I just need to get out of here." Trevor said walking away from Paul, and everyone.
Paul walked back to the house fuming. He got his daughter and wife and left the house. Elizabeth and her mother went on as though there had not been an altercation between them and Trevor. Paul looked at them on his way out, and shook his head frowning in utter disappointment at them.
Grabbing a glass of wine, Mrs. Smith walked up to her daughter, Elizabeth. "Good riddance." She smiled at her daughter, as they both toasted, Elizabeth smiling back at her mother.