My honey hair was brushed back. A few pieces were held together by a dusty pink bow. I had on a dress; a black dress with lace on the bottom. My hazel eyes were closed. My milky skin was pale. My body lay in a shiny brown coffin for all to see. I was dead. I wasn’t sure why I was able to see my funeral. I wasn’t sure why I was even dead.
I stood in the far back near the entrance. People began to flow in through the entrance, all of them walking straight through me. I stood there as my mom walked past me. The warm smell of pralines followed her. Missy emerged from behind my mom. My younger sister always seemed to be smiling, but not today. Her pale pink lips were turned down in a frown and her honey brown eyes were dripping tears down her rosy cheeks. My dad then walked in shortly after, his newest girlfriend at his side. Her blonde hair flowing down her back, manicured hand intertwined with his. I never even learned this one’s name.
I couldn’t remember the last funeral I attended. I think I was around 5 years old and we were going to pay respects to my great grandma Daniella. I remember my mom trying to shove my feet into this pair of Mary Janes while Missy, who was four at the time, ran circles around us. Earlier that morning my best friend Conrad told me that dead people come back as ghosts. To a 5 year old, ghosts were scary. To a dead 17 year old, not so much.
Someone passed right through me. Conrad. Conrad Bowe is my best friend. Well, he was my best friend…at least till I died. Conrad moved next door when I was 4 and he was 5. So in a sense we grew up together. Conrad and I were always close.
Today Conrad looked like everyone else at this depressing funeral. Sad. Instead of grinning and laughing, his expression was stoic. He had on a crisp black shirt and a pair of black dress pants. His neat brown hair was messy, his face was blotchy, and his bright blue eyes clashed with his frown.
I began to walk up the aisle and went and sat near the front. Dead girl walking. Everyone was in their seats when the priest came up to the front. He cleared his throat, ¨We are gathered here to celebrate the life of Lydia Magnolia Grace.” A few sobs were heard. ¨Would any of Lydia’s family members like to speak?”
My mom shook her head and turned towards my sister. Missy’s eyes were a bit wide and seemed to be scared but she nodded. Missy’s blonde hair blew a bit as she walked up.
She adjusted the microphone attached to the stand. ¨Uh, hi,” she murmured, ¨I don’t even know where to start. I mean it’s hard to wrap my sister’s life into one paragraph.¨ Her eyes got all watery. ¨One measly paragraph,¨ she whispered. ¨M-my sister Lydia was truly one of the most kind hearted people I know. She was just the kind of person who you were drawn to. Lydia had a way of making people smile. Lydia uh-¨ Missy choked up a bit, ¨Lydia had all these plans to make the world a better place. She wanted to bring awareness to issues all across the world. Lydia had such a good soul. She was the definition of a sweetheart.” Missy finished and quickly went back to her seat, tears pouring down. My heart ached. I wish I could comfort her.
¨Would anyone else like to speak?” questioned the priest.
Conrad’s hand shot up, ¨I will,¨ he murmured gently, putting his hand down. He rose from his seat and walked up to where Missy once stood. His dress shoes echoed loudly against the slick vinyl tiles. ¨Lydia was my best friend. It was my fault she died,¨ he spit out. My heart stopped. Well, technically it stopped a while ago but nevertheless. ¨Lydia and I were driving. I was driving. We were just going to the movies. Lydia wanted to go. It was my job to get her there. But I didn’t. I didn’t see the car coming.¨ Conrad never did hold back. ¨Lydia didn’t make it and it’s my fault. I know I´m supposed to make some stupid speech about how everyone loved her and how she liked reading and was always there for me. But the truth is I didn’t deserve to have Lydia as my best friend,¨ he mumbled and ran off.
I gulped. Everything started coming back to me. I remember it all. I asked Conrad to take me to the movies because a horror movie was out. He opened the door for me. We listened to music. I remember asking him if I looked okay. He turned away from the road for a second, just a second. But then I remember feeling something hit my side of the car. I think my vision went black but then I don’t know what happened.
Everything was falling into place. I wasn’t on earth because my soul was lost or because I was going to be a ghost, I was on earth because Conrad needed me.
Everyone seemed to be frozen for a second. Murmurs were heard throughout the crowd. It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t even my fault. Sometimes unlucky things happen. He did nothing wrong. No matter what happened that night it would never be his fault. He needed to know. I needed to tell him it was okay.
I was frantic. Everything was hitting me at once. For once in my life I did not know what to do. I wanted to tell him now, that it was okay, but I couldn’t. I thought long and hard but I didn’t know what to do. As fellow classmates walked up and talked about me, already having forgotten about what just happened, I made my way out searching for Conrad. I walked out the doors when I heard the rustling of tissues and there he was. His head was facing a blank wall and he was fidgeting with hopefully clean tissues.
I ran hoping to get a gust of wind or anything to get his attention. The wind rustled his hair a bit but he didn’t even look spooked. I wanted to scream! I was so tired of this. I just wanted to hug my friends and my family and let them know that I was here. That I missed them.
My eyes turned back to Conrad as he slowly got up, wiping his eyes and went back in. I followed him. He sat next to his mom and gently leaned his head on her shoulder. All of a sudden I knew what to do.
When Conrad and I were younger we spent a whole summer learning Morse code so that we could exchange secret messages. I remember he felt so bad because he accidentally talked too loudly after I told him what my birthday present for Missy was and he completely spoiled it. Whenever Conrad felt guilty he would just lay his head on your shoulder and you couldn’t help but forgive him.
I looked across the room at the candles. There were 17 candles in front of the front row where my family and Conrad’s sat. I went closer and one went off. It was as if my presence was so chilling that they just went out. I was amazed. I had no idea it would work. It truly was frightening. Conrad’s head went up along with everyone else’s as they stared. The priest looked confused. A few girls screamed. I did it again. Again candles went out while some stayed on. It’s okay. Conrad’s eyes lit up. He knew. I knew that he did. It was so simple but he understood.
Everyone in the church was silent. The priest then mumbled a few words and began to read a passage trying to distract everyone. A few people seem to be freaked out and gripped on to the benches. I wasn’t paying attention though. I started walking out of the church. I was almost to the doors when I looked back. Missy, Mom and Conrad were all wrapped up in a hug. I knew right then and there that they were going to be okay.
I put one foot out the door. My soul felt a bit tingly. Then I saw the light. The stupid white light that everyone talked about was here for me. I stepped into it. Ready for whatever was next.