Are you looking at me?

“Are you looking at me”

I start violently. The kettle tips and spills hot tea on my cousin’s foot. She shrieks and glares at me.

Am I the only one hearing grandpa’s booming voice?

We’re in his bedroom, or more accurately,  what used to be his bedroom. You see, we’re at his wake. His corpse lies in the front room, in a home-made wooden coffin, atop three stools placed in a neat row.

In the room he spent his nights, the closest relatives sit  on benches along the walls. It’s midnight now, and they’ve been singing dirges since sunset. Every so often, someone, overcome with grief, pierces the crisp night air with a mournful wail. It’s a heart wrenching affair.  And that’s why, I’m taking my job, serving them tea every three hours, very seriously.

Grandpa’s long, grey overcoat hangs on a nail at the entrance. Above it, his cowboy hat, a colour closer to brown than grey – old, but not tattered.

Is it odd that I saw his smiling face just then, illuminated by the dim light of the lantern, right below his beloved hat? I could swear he asked me if I was looking at him.

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