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THE FIFTH

I will wait for you

She said

Endlessly

I will wait for you

So spoke

Misery

-- “Endlessly, She Said,” AFI

It rained on the day of the funeral. Attendance was small: Heather, Eric’s band, Sarah, a handful of Shelly’s coworkers. They stood around two plots, over which hovered two coffins and a priest.

“Today we celebrate the lives of Shelly Webster and Eric Draven,” he began solemnly. “They were taken from this world suddenly, on a day that should have been the happiest of their lives.” He cleared his throat. “This couple shared the deepest love and devotion for one another. It is only appropriate that they lie together in death as they loved together in life.”

He held in his hands two sheets of paper filled with cramped handwriting. “Shelly and Eric planned to write their own vows. Now I would like to read from Eric’s, so that we can all truly appreciate the beauty of their love.”

The rain splatting against the coffin sounded like a knock at a door.

“ ‘Shelly,’” the priest began to read, “ ‘you said I could say this in a pretty way, but I don’t know how to do that without making an idiot of myself. Shelly, I didn’t think I’d ever find someone to domesticate me. I didn’t think I could have this kind of life. It never even crossed my mind that I’d want to settle down, buy a house, get a cat, have a kid.

“ ‘You opened up another world for me. You gave me hope, just like you give hope to everyone you work with, everyone you help. I love you, Shelly. Forever.’”

The priest looked up from the papers. “And now, as we lay these two to rest, may the Lord watch over their souls and protect them as they enter the heavenly realm. Let us pray.”

The dirt on the coffins sounded like rain on the pavement.

 

Oh violets for the grave of youth,

And bay for those dead in their prime;

Give me the withered leaves I chose

Before in the old time.

-- “Song,” Christina Rosetti