"Anyone who came in contact with Marcus was better off for it. What I mean is (pause) it was hard to be around him without something good rubbing off you." Lester let out a little chuckle as he went deep in thought for a childhood memory of a joke Marcus had played on him. "I know every body". Lester had started crying and tried to continue his eulogy.
Just then Shay started reminiscing about how they had met and the joke Marcus had played on her. Yes he was good at practical jokes, quite the master. Marcus had the gift of gab, the intelligence of any nuclear scientist, the prettiest brown eyes, muscular legs, and a smile that could light up an entire room. A complete package and he still managed to make people laugh, and he could do that in any situation. He had that special gift of making your biggest problem seem so small thru laughter.
All the emotions were now coming back to her too fast and Shay could not stop them. Her sobs had turned into hysterical crying and she couldn't see anything or anyone thru the flood of tears. The ceremony had become a blurry picture of black images and whispering voices. Yes, everyone understood her grief and she was entitled to it. The same words were ringing thru Shay's mind over and over again. She had enough and at that time wanted to go home and get away from everyone. Marcus taught her to smile thru adversity but this was way too much for Shay to bare.
She reached beside her to grab Anthony's arm. "Please take me home NOW, please" she whispered in her son's ear.
"But mom, there are so many pepole here. What about"
"I want to go home now! Please take me home or I will drive myself"
"Ok mom let's go. I'll take you home"
Shay felt a firm hand rub her back softly and then the words "I'm very sorry for your loss Shay". Although she had heard those very same words for the last three days they somehow sounded different or maybe it was the way he said her name. It was almost erotic. How could that be? She was at her husband's funeral and suddenly she was aroused, by this mystery voice. Shay had to know who he was. She turned slowly and wiped her eyes. "Thank you for those kinds words".
"Mom whats wrong? Who is this guy? Are you ok? Mom?" Anthony had always been very protective of his mother. He would become her rock now that Marcus was gone. It was now his job to keep his mom laughing. It was a great burden for Anthony. One that his mother would never let him committ to. No Shay had other plans for her son. Plans she and Marcus had made together long ago. Now it was up to Shay to make sure Anthony went to college. They had started saving when Anthony was eight.
"Hi my name is Kyle and I know you're Anthony. I guess you could say I'm like your mom's big brother."
"I only have one uncle and it aint you. Mom?" Shay couldn't speak. She couldn't move. All she could do was stare. She was so confused; so many emotions. It was definitely time to go home now or she would surely faint any minute.
"I'm sorry. Your grandfather Clifton was my stepfather" Kyle said as he extended his hand to Anthony to shake. "I guess you didn't get to know him well with you guys living in Texas. I remember seeing pictures of you though. Your mom sent your grandfather one every year".
"Thanks for coming to the funeral Kyle but my son was just taking me home. I'm not feeling well. How long are you going to be in Texas? There's going to be a little get together at my house tomorrow if you want to come. Anthony give him a program." Shay walked off before Kyle could say anything.
"Here you go man. Since you already know my mom, guess you know she aint much for chit chat huh?"
"Yeah I know that. Thanks for the invite. I will try to make it".
"Whatever man. Just don't get my mom upset cause it wont be pretty!"
"So mom how come you never told me about Kyle? I didn't know grandpa had other kids. So is he my"
"Anthony! I told you I don't feel well and I do-not-feel-like-talking right now! Do you understand?"
"Yeah mom. I got it. You don't have to yell. I miss him too mom". Anthony's eyes were bloodshot red but he put up a brave front for his mother's sake. Shay looked at her son with great love and pat his leg to show her approval of his last statement.
Anthony knew although his mom never said the words much, she loved him dearly. She was an action person and had always preached to Anthony not to believe what people told him but what they did. He also knew that's why his mom and Marcus were the perfect match. Marcus was a man of action. A man with high morale standards. They had their own unspoken language which worked out very well for 15 years.