I was invited to a funeral. The deceased was a person, a former priest, that I was related to through my husband, who was related to this person by law only. My husband had told me the former priest had molested his younger sisters and that his mother had allowed this to happen. The mother had walked out on her family, after a halfhearted TS (“If only she had failed in her attempt to become the center of everyone’s attention and died instead!”, my husband once passionately said), to marry the defrocked priest, leaving my husband and an older sister of his at the despotic hands of a crazy and dangerous woman, on the way of smoking herself to an early death, who had somehow managed to talk my husband’s father into a second marriage, after which the younger sisters were shipped to the depravity of the house that had meanwhile been set up by the former priest and their natural mother.
The mother, when I first met her, was fat and disgusting. She kept her hair very short to conceal how little of it there was. She did not just believe in a god (viz. the christian, catholic god), she was a religious fanatic. So was the former priest, who was extremely ugly to look at to boot. They had spawned their own child, a daughter, who grew into a very pretty and intelligent girl and obtained a university degree in pharmacy. But her natural beauty waned as early as in her mid twenties, because she, too,was a religious fanatic. She jilted her very handsome and free-spirited boyfriend, and married a churchgoing uneducated pill instead, who successfully inseminated her three times in three years (and probably would have continued doing that if he hadn’t spent himself for the remainder of his life). She never acquired, or even applied for, a paid job, and related to humans, her husband and children not excepted, through her catholic god only. Her oldest child, a girl, turned out as sorry a human being as the mother, always wearing shapeless long skirts and opaque stockings (what is it with christianity and skirts on women?), and her two sons became churchgoing pills in keeping with their idiot father.
The former priest died wiped out by Alzheimer. The mother is an Alzheimer patient as well. I had learned that they had become complete strangers to each other years ago and were taken care of in the closed wards of separate homes. The mother, as fat as she had been when I first saw her, but even more disgusting, was wheeled in to sit in on the obsequies, even if she was unable to relate to anything going on outside her now completely bald pate. I felt implacable hate for these two people, whose brain degenerative disease seemed the perfect retribution for their self-absorption during their conscious adult lives. I was unforgiving.
The once beautiful daughter, now a prematurely aged hag with an emaciated physique and dry, completely gray hair (in abundant quantity though), failed to recognize me at first (as did her dull husband, but he is immaterial). True, I have changed quite dramatically in the past decade, which was how long ago I had last seen her. My face had melted in an accident, which, even if it had been tolerably repaired, made it difficult for past friends and foes alike to recognize me. My posture was more erect than ever and my figure had developed into near-perfect proportions. My hair was thick and lustrous as that of a woman in her fourth month of pregnancy. I had arrived in a fancy-ass car (as my friend with the loft on Union Square recently described the car, whose interior I had sent her pictures of – dashboard, displays, consoles, steering yoke, a camera rear view shot, dome, dome lights, rear seats, door panels etc. – which I took while doing 90mph on autopilot). Generally, I exuded success which stuck out like a sore thumb in the humble gathering I had found myself introduced into.
At the walking lunch after the funeral I offered my condolences to the hag and her family. They were all clearly less than inconsolable; I’d say they looked rather relieved. The demented mother was left to grapple with whatever nightmares were raging inside her fogged up brain. I estimated the family’s relief would spike if she commanded her spirit to the God they had traded in their humanity for, right then, smack on the spot, at the funeral of the unsightly gnome she had been in cahoots with as he abused her very flesh and blood.
Among the people I thought I might have to be polite to, standing apart from the others, was a handsome man who even in the atmosphere which tradition ordained to be depressed struck me as the swashbuckling type, and I thought I remembered I had actually had him in my bed. I made a beeline for him.
– Family? I asked.
– Not even a friend of, he said.
– Did we meet before? I asked.
– And fucked, he said. We played truth or dare. Whether truth or dare, it had to have to do with sex, bodily parts or any object in your bedroom. I didn’t recognize you at first. What happened to your face?
– It melted and was reconstructed. How did we meet?
– I dated the daughter. (He turned and tilted his head in the direction of the wizened girl).
– You oughta have saved her, I said.
– Impossible. No marriage, no sex.
– You oughta have married her.
– If nature wants people to be together as long as is implied in the concept of marriage, then we can stick to nature and skip the concept. If not, then people who marry are fools who ignore nature.
– So you two broke up because of the sex issue.
– The way I think about marriage and she about sex, I would never get laid, and she would never be a mother. How would we not break up.
– Do you have children?
– Your son. A dare. Remember?
– I think I do, yes. He is a fine young man. I’m glad I chose dare.
– You only played dare.
– There was no truth worth sharing. Playing truth would have killed the sex. Even now there isn’t a true fact about me that you’d be interested to learn.
I took his hand and led him further away from the pockets of mourners.
– Truth or dare, I said.
– Ask the daughter to take you to her mother, then tell the mother there will be no god waiting for her on the other side to restore her brain.
– What’s it to her? he asked. She has lost the ability to confide in the figments of her own mind. There’s nothing left to disabuse her of.
– I need the daughter to hear you saying it.
He ambled to the daughter, spoke to her in a subdued voice and together they proceeded towards to the amorphous mass huddled in the wheelchair. I could not hear what he said, but it was loud enough for the daughter, who had a hand on her mother’s arm, to hear it. I saw her recoil. She spoke in an agitated tone to the boyfriend of her youth. People turned their heads. The husband, clearly embarrassed at his own indecisiveness, started towards the intimate scene, a half-smile on his face. Before he had made it to his wife, my partner in crime had started sashaying back in my direction. Stopping just briefly where I stood, he said under his breath:
– Truth or dare, quick!
– Dare, always.
– Tell the husband I dated and fucked his wife, that she climaxed, and hollered: “Goddamnit, that was so good!”
– What’s it to him? I said, as he turned to walk to the cloakroom. He’ll think he saved her.
– Yes. But I need his wife to hear it. Then he’ll know he is wrong.
The daughter and her husband were still with the mother. Funeral guests had moved in a protective circle around them. The circle opened to me like the Red Sea did to Moses. This happens to a tall and attractive woman in a tailored black suit.
– Did that person say something to offend you? I asked the daughter. You see, he accosted me. He seemed like an extremely rude person to me. Did you invite him to the funeral?
– What did he say to you? the husband asked.
– That he fucked her (I nodded in the direction of his wife) before you two met, that she climaxed and hollered: “Goddamnit, that was so good!” I’m so sorry, I added, but those were his literal words.
I saw something of the daughter’s former beauty return to her face. Cavities filled out. Lines smoothened. Color came to her cheeks. But most of all, her kind and beautiful eyes with the silver-grey irises emphasizing the vertiginous depth of her larger than average pupils started to radiate, and I saw the brightness, ten times my own, lost inside. She looked at her husband.
– You heard her, she croaked. I think you should ask her to leave.