All I Wanted Was Cinnamon
Those who know me best know I adore dumb T-shirts.
Let me rephrase that: Those who know me best believe my T-shirts are dumb. My closest friends cringe when I show up to a brunch or dinner out. Some folks I warn: “I’m wearing the Ewok today” or “You’ll have to excuse my lucky gnome shirt.” I do this to get the eye-rolls out of the way.
My friends, ever practical, roll their eyes anyway and get over it because they love me. A few close buddies have tried to “redress” me multiple times, pointing out more respectable options hanging from thrift store racks or glistening in department store windows. I cringe at the uncomfortableness of such garments and the not-me-ness.
They cringe at me cringing.
And I keep on wearing what I wear.
I’m sure I’d be the ultimate fashion-disaster fodder for that show “What Not to Wear.”
After the death of their father, Joey and Shannon have difficulty helping their mother navigate the funeral arrangements. Living in a small town doesn’t make it any easier—especially when everyone knows the family’s dirty secrets.
Our family of three gathered around a heavy mahogany table, easily the size of three caskets wide and two long all pushed together. The top is so thick that I’m afraid if I keep running my fingers along the rim’s ornate, viney trim that the lid will pop open to reveal where they keep the bodies.
I fixated on one of the floor-to-ceiling windows toward the parking lot across the street. Just a few cars, mostly belonging to us. We all drove separately. I left the windows up in my Honda. The August sun is no doubt baking the dark leather, and I long for the sting of it against my bare legs and shoulders. Anything but the cold of the table on my forearms and rough upholstery of the oversized chairs to go with the oversized table. Mom had rolled her eyes when she saw my cut-offs and tank top. I should’ve donned my funeral dress for this, as she did. Tell the world we’re mourning. The world already knows.
It’s known for a long time.
I don’t live at home anymore. I like to dress myself.
I shifted in my seat, the chair itching the backs of my legs. The director, Mr. Ulrich, sat at the head of the table closest to my mom, patting her hand and further encouraging the deluge of tears. I remember him lurking at the sign-in stand when my grandparents passed, all several years apart, and I’d thought he looked like Andy Griffith, the sheriff from the black-and-white sitcom that Gramps consumed all day every day.
Tall, built. Thick dark hair. When I was little, I tried to get a glimpse of his gun and badge, but someone always put a strong hand on my shoulder and marched me up to look at a dead body. Then they’d talk about how good that body looked. Or how peaceful. On and on. But dead is dead. And I never once remember thinking it looked good.
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Copyright © 2020 by B.A. Paul.
All work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed herein are fictional, and any resemblance to
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Beth's passion for writing started in grade school with an epic outer space adventure scribbled on 158 sheets of wide-ruled notebook paper with not-sharp-enough pencils. That manuscript was lost in a basement flood.
Thirty years, marriage, two kids and several dogs later, she's garnered enough story fodder to resurrect her passion—and this time she backs up her work!
She currently resides in Indiana with her family and a couple of meowing fur babies who enjoy walking across her keyboard.