I have been writing a story and posting it in sections of around 800 words. Please see here
for part one
and here for part two
This is part three. I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter three – Departing
Later that morning they all walked down to the church. The sun shone down on the town bathing it is its glorious rays and lighting up the white washed buildings with their blue and yellow painted doors and window frames. He thought, ‘strange how often life juxtaposes such beauty with so much sorrow’.
The Church of Santa Maria looked particularly lovely, the stone glistening, practically glowing in the late morning sunshine. The bell in the tower was ringing out and he could see quite a procession of people heading into the church. It seemed almost everyone was going to Belo’s funeral.
They crossed the little bridge over the river into the main town and joined the end of the procession. As they entered the church he could see his family seated at the front, next to the body of his grandfather in his woven basket coffin, like baby Moses in his basket of rushes. Dr. Lopez and Margarita sat at the back of the church and he sat with them, he didn’t want to push through the crowd to reach his family. He felt more comfortable at the back somehow. He watched his father stand up and read a eulogy about fishermen and the sea. His Uncle Miguel was there standing behind him, and next to him was Uncle Carlos. Uncle Carlos was the black sheep of the family and had left home after grandmother died, because he hadn’t seen eye to eye with grandfather. He had only seen him twice before. It was quite a surprise to see him here. He lived a long way away in the big city.
The priest stood up to speak. He felt the tears come again. The pain of his loss was still so raw but he hated crying with so many people around him. A little hand gripped his and he looked down at margarita’s hand holding his, giving him comfort.
After the ceremony people began milling about. He could hear Old Diego saying over and over again to anyone who would listen “Well I told him, you know? I told him not to take his boat out. I told him the storm was coming.” He knew Diego meant no harm, but the braying ass’s words were like a knife to the chest. The tears were choking in his throat.
His family came to gather him in, like the lost sheep. His Father, and his Aunt Anna-Maria, who kept house and had looked after him after his mother had died of a fever. So long ago that he could barely remember her. Uncle Miguel looked less than his usual hearty self, expected under the circumstances.
He felt a firm hand grip his shoulder in a gesture of friendly support. It was Doctor Lopez.
“Well, Senor Ortiz, I deliver your son to you safe and secure. Farewell Pablo and good luck.”
His father spoke, in sombre tones. “Thank you, Doctor, for looking after my son and bringing him back to us. I don’t know how we can repay your kindness.”
“Well, he’s a fine boy; I was pleased to have been of service.”
Dr. Lopez and Margarita left the Church. She flashed him a look with those dark eyes that said it was only goodbye for now.
His father looked down at him with sad brown eyes. His eyes were always sad and brown, for as long as he remembered, but somehow they had become even more so. Sombrely he said.
“Well come along Pablo. We’ve got to bury my Father and then I think it’s time for us to have a little talk.”
Having paid their respects in the church the townsfolk all departed back to their normal lives to leave the family in their grief.
The family proceeded to the graveyard to inter their dearly departed father and grandfather.
The grave was next to his grandmothers. In passing he noticed the name on it. Conchita Maria Alvarez Ortiz. So Belo had named his boat for her. Of course it made sense but he never knew his Grandmothers name, she was always Abuelita to him. He had never visited the grave. He was like most young people, only concerned with the living. He had been quite young still when she had died, seven years ago.
The priest continued his ritual as they slowly lowered the cheap coffin into the ground. They all threw a handful of red earth, still damp from the storm, into the hole and then they slowly went home.
When he got back to their small house he went up the wooden ladder into his small room at the back. He just wanted to be alone for a while with his tears.
End of part three….
Copyright Kristian Fogarty 12/April/2018