The church was silent. I watched the darkly coloured, wooden coffin being carried down the aisle of the somber church. The further the coffin moved down the aisle, the louder the church grew with the weeps and cries of women and mute tears of men.
I resisted the urge to throw my shaking body at his coffin as it moved past me. Just to give him one last hug. Touch his elderly hand one last time. My heat beat sped up. The space between my clenched hands became a humid sauna as they grew clammier. My mind finally realised that he was gone for the rest of my time.
The soldiers, who should have looked proud to be chosen as the pallbearers, all bore the sunken look of despair. As the six men strode past with their heads dropped hiding their faint tears that streaked down their gloomy faces. Their shoulders hung low as if the coffin weighed nothing compared to the amount of sorrow and pain that sat on top of their shoulders.
As the coffin left the sight of my bloodshot eyes, my mind started to wonder back into the past, back to a time when he still lived. I remembered the strange smell of newspaper which always filled that small room of his. I remembered his wrinkled, fair skinned hands as they professionally shuffled a deck of red and white bicycle cards over the small coffee table in the centre of the room. The knack he had for card games and those Chinese mind games always intrigued me. I always challenged him, but I had never beaten him.
The memory that shone the brightest in my recollections was the first time he showed me his deck of cards, when he made his final return from doing his part in the army. He showed me how to carefully balance cards on top of one another, building a tower. I called it a house of cards, and he had laughed a joyous laugh.
When my mind returned to the present, salty tears ran down the already marked paths of my cheeks. The depressive church started to empty itself of the people who wiped away tears in a desperate attempt to appear stronger than they really were. The words, “I miss you already dad” quietly left my chapped lips and I disappeared into the crowd.
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