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The Funeral

The Funeral
Jeya Sandhar

I stared at my reflection, the pallid mask enveloping my face, a mournful expression tormenting the display that covered my pursed lips. Tracing my skin, I searched for the bruises, the evidence to justify his death.
But they were gone.
Instead replaced by a flawless covering that merged beneath white. So perfectly white it made me wonder if it ever happened, his hand tightly coiled around my neck, slightly lifting me off the floor.
Although the deep mauve marks were gone, I still felt the pain engrave into my neck, imagined it forcing its way into my system, becoming one with my broken body.
Dipping my fingers into the swirling water beneath me, I pulled at my eyelids, slightly smearing the crimson eyeshadow that was meticulously placed along the edge.
One, two, three drops…that was enough. I’d been returning here every hour, refilling my ‘tears’, replenishing the facade that kept me sane. Kept me… mundane.
A numbness hastily spread across my body. I felt the water drip to my chin. Could these tears be real?
Flicking my eyes to my wrist, I read the time from the patterned watch. The watch he gifted me last year. It was always five minutes fast, he wouldn’t let me arrive late, never let me stay out for too long. Always watching… waiting for me to return.
What felt like five hours in this bathroom was only two minutes, but that was already too long.
If he were still here I would’ve been called down, a drunk voice echoing off walls, beckoning me to stand pressed against him so he could present me. Show me off to his colleagues… But it was always less painful when they stayed… he was more violent drunk.
I dreaded the time they had to leave, repeatedly trying to keep them here as long as possible.
Everyone was waiting for me downstairs, for my speech about mi amor. I shuffled my feet forwards, white knuckles returning to their usual peach as I removed them from the edge of the sink.
My hands brushed down the black lace, a chipped nail catching on the fabric just before my hips. He would’ve scolded me for that: ‘You’re ruining this beautiful dress I bought for you. You must take more care darling, don’t want to hurt yourself with those nails now.’
And I always agreed muttering sorry before trimming the nail. I never went against him, always wanting to please him.
One step at a time, I descended the stairs. I could see two sides of him waiting there, one with his hand outstretched ready to beat me, the other crouched and crying begging for forgiveness.
Right until the very end I never knew which was the real him, the one who whispered ‘Te quiero’ against my ear or the one that flung me against the floor, choking me before beating against my hips.
I always wished it was the first but I know he could never be rid of the second.