Vengeance Is Golden

By Martin Berman-Gorvine

My funeral, when it rolls around, is nothing like what I half-expected, when I was twisting up that bedsheet to hang myself with. Everyone would be there, I thought: my parents and Jason, crying because they hadn't listened to me; Megan and Jessa and Haley and Tiffany, all in a row in their prettiest dresses with their hands clasped and their eyes downcast in shame for the way they treated me; all the other kids in VL High and the teachers behind them, crying their eyes out; and at the side of my grave, Tim and Justin going down on one knee, silently weeping as they each lay a single rose on my coffin, red for Tim, white for Justin.
What a dope I was. A fat little girl with a head full of self-pity and romantic dreams. There is nobody at my funeral, which is up in Baltimore in the same cemetery where my grandparents are buried. Nobody except Mom, her face sagging like a woman of seventy instead of forty, Jason, who looks ready to topple into the grave with me, and Miss Gina, who keeps trying to stifle her sobs as if she's ashamed to be crying in front of my family. Where the hell is Dad? Has Mom been right about him all along, that he's too busy with his new job and his new wife and his new baby to give a shit about me?
After the rabbi's guttural Hebrew mumbles, after Mom and Jason and Miss Gina spade dirt atop my coffin with a terrible final thump, after the two middle-aged black gravediggers lower the coffin on its straps and a backhoe starts filling in my grave, I get my answer about Dad: Miss Gina timidly touches my mother's shoulder, whispering (I suppose, though it all sounds the same to me), "How is he?"
Mom shakes her head. "Intensive care. They don't know if he'll make it. It's his third heart attack."
"I'm so sorry."
Mom shrugs. "He's my ex."



Copyright © 2019, Martin Berman-Gorvine