“Sigmund Freud once said that the goal of all life is death.”
I paused from getting into the now-empty hearse, looking from the black-gloved hand gripping my arm, to the woman who’d spoken the depressing words. She wore a frumpy hat with white feathers and small red balls reminding me of cranberries. I tore my eyes away from the feathery concoction and stared at her. Like a typical adult speaking to a teenager, she most likely thought her words profound—a small, passed-on piece of wisdom to make me feel less miserable about suddenly becoming an orphan.
“What are you saying?” I asked, wiping my wet, snow-colored hair away from my cheek. Rain at a funeral meant something, but I couldn’t remember what.
The woman tilted her head and gave me a sympathetic smile as if my simple brain couldn’t reason. In actuality, I knew full well what Freud meant, but I simply thought it was a stupid comment. Why would life’s goal be death? Unless life was on Prozac and lying in bed all day watching the Soap Network, I highly doubted life’s goal included death. Anyone living life shouldn’t be concerned with death at all. My mother had taught me that. Sure her life ended tragically, just like my father’s, but all those who knew her, knew that dying was the last thing on her mind. Maybe that was the problem—and the problem with my father, too.
The woman began speaking again, no doubt explaining the rationale behind the lame quote, but I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t even staring at her cranberry hat anymore. I looked beyond it, back where my father lay stuffed in a casket. Only my Uncle Jake remained, staring into my dad’s grave. He would be like the rest of my family and wouldn’t avoid death if it came for him.
But I would.
I made up my mind right then and there, while fruit-head rattled on about the necessity of death. Death would never claim me. I would blend in with society, and not try to stand out as others of my kind always did. Inevitably, that is always what got them killed. Even my mother, who insisted she was safe, died in spite of the fierce, almost obsessive protection of my father. She could’ve lived a lot longer if she hadn’t been so boisterous and colorful. Of course, that is why everyone loved her. She brought joy to their normally depressed lives. This, she told me, is the Aura’s purpose: to use our gift to comfort the heavyhearted and provide light to those who are lost. At the time she told me this, it sounded as wonderful as pink lemonade and cotton candy in summer, but now the thought of being someone’s raggedy Kleenex was unbearable.
I ignored the lecturing woman and jumped into the front seat of the hearse, shutting the door behind me. The driver asked, “Did you want to wait for your uncle, Llona?”
“No, he’ll come when he’s ready. Please just take me home.” As we pulled away from the cemetery, I didn’t look back.
My mind was on the future and on my survival.