Death off Seminary Ridge
by Antonio Gloria
The Abbot died last Tuesday. He fell off the ridge. Normally, no one falls off the ridge. Everyone thinks that he was either killed, or he committed suicide. His adopted daughter found him on the beach. He’d been beaten by the rocks, and washed ashore. The Abbot was respected by nearly everyone in town, most people loved the man. No one knew him well.
The daughter’s name was Caroline. She was a young, spirited girl that enjoyed nearly every game. Caroline had light blues eyes, white skin, and blonde hair that turned brown at times. The color of her hair depended on the color of the season, and the angle of the light. Anyone who saw her two or three times a day would have seen a change. The Abbot compared her to a cuttlefish. Caroline didn’t like that comparison.
The Abbot was somewhat clever. Caroline was rather clever.
That Wednesday night, the day after the Abbot died, Caroline spent half the night lying on her right side looking at the lines in the wall that were dimly lit by the light from the radio. After a while her eyes quit looking (all by themselves). She found herself dreaming that she was riding down empty streets on a bike, riding without a guide, until somehow she found her way home. She woke up because in her dream there was no one there and she was scared. She stayed awake, in the dark, scared for the rest of the night until the sun rose. She had waited in darkness until dawn and never turned on a light.
Once the sun was up, and there was light in the room, Caroline was able to sleep for an hour or so. She didn’t remember what she dreamt then, she was too tired. She woke up a little after eight thirty. A little after eight thirty the phone range; she probably wouldn’t have gotten out of bed if the phone hadn’t rung. But it happened that the phone rang. It was someone calling to offer condolences. Caroline’s thought was something to the effect of, ‘must you call so early’. But she was respectful and let the man on the phone feel sorry for her.
Since Caroline was already awake she decided to bathe. In the shower she sang along with some songs. While singing Goodbye Babylon she stepped out of the shower, opened the bathroom door and looked around. She saw no one, reentered the bathroom, closed and locked the door behind her, and then she got back into the shower. She didn’t know where she was in the song when she stopped singing so she started over. When she was done singing she turned off the water, stepped out of the shower, dried herself and opened the window to let in some air. Her wet brunette hair was dark wet, but when hit with a little light her hair lit up again.
After she was clean Caroline went to the kitchen. She ate a bowl of cereal and then drank a cup of coffee. She also watched the news. The news was showing bombs falling on Gaza and then the weather showed 68°F as the high in early January. Caroline wiped her nose with the back of her hand, stood up and put the bowl in the sink. Then she went back to her room.
Caroline took no more than thirty minutes to get ready and then she left. She wore a blue dress, blue shoes, a little bit o’ black eye liner, a little bit o’ light red lipstick, soft makeup and she had her hair down; (her hair was an auburn color outside). She took the Abbot’s car to the park.
The roads were rather empty that Thursday. Caroline drove for hours before she made it to the park. She actually left the city and then came back again before going to the park.
Nothing particularly eventful happened that day.
That Thursday evening a Rosary was held for the Abbot. Caroline, and other worshipers, prayed for the Abbot’s spirit, uncertain of to whom the spirit would go. That evening she said very little to anybody. Everyone said sorry, and she said ok…or thanks, or whatever she could muster; she didn’t really want to speak.
After the rosary had been said and the worshipers had dispersed, Caroline returned to the empty Abbot’s house. She prayed again, this time for her own well being. She took a short shower, with the bathroom door open and every light in the house on. Her hair was dark wet again
On Friday the funeral was held. The day was cool and partly cloudy but the sun was out. Caroline kept hearing Neptune’s Net in her head.
At about two thirty, Caroline and the community were at the cemetery ready to give back the Abbot. Caroline didn’t cry. But she knew she needed to be kind so she let the community grieve with her. She gave a hug or a kiss to whoever needed one; and each felt a little better for it.
Caroline watched the Abbot lower into the earth and noticed that the cries of the crowd grew a little louder. Caroline held the hand of the woman next to her and lowered her head, and her hair shone nicely. She stood there for a good minute, in silence.
Caroline stayed until the last of the grievers had gone. (She actually stayed a lot longer than that). She stayed until early evening. Caroline had found some shade under a tree and layed down and fell asleep.
Caroline woke up not remembering when she fell asleep. She saw where the sun was and got up. Caroline said goodbye, and it felt like last Tuesday night when she had found him.
Caroline said goodbye again, and then went home.