1. Astronomy. the brightest star in a constellation.

People kept coming by, getting in her face, apologizing  to her.

It’s okay to feel angry, they said. She didn’t feel angry. She actually didn’t feel anything at all.

No one had warned her about this numbness.

Minnie sat still on the pew, staring at the coffin. Only Ms. Abby’s nose and curly hair could be seen from her vantage point. But that was all she needed to see. That wasn’t really Ms. Abby in that ornate box of wood, Minnie could tell that from glance.

Ms. Abby had been full of life, always smiling, bubbling over with joy. This heavy body had anything but life in it. It lay solidly in the coffin, silently screaming that Ms. Abby was gone and would never return. And Minnie wondered if life could ever be the same, how it would actually go on without Ms. Abby living to keep it spinning.

She was Minnie’s lucida in the midst of the chaos and dissonance that had become her life.

With Ms. Abby around, she had hope, moving upward out of the heaviness, like a moth following its path toward light. Life had finally started to make sense. With Ms. Abby she found out what “normal” really meant and could look like.

Ms. Abby had been the only brave one to give her a place to stay when she had first come off the streets, the only one to look her in the eyes and speak to her with respect. She ate Ms. Abby’s food, drank her water, sat at her table like a guest, and cleaned the house like a daughter, never scared of what it would cost her. Ms. Abby was home.

Tears stung the backs of Minnie’s eyes as Pastor McCoy began reading from his Bible.

A deep wail arose from the crowd at the reading of the words. It sounded like something that could’ve come from her own soul. Something that should’ve come from her, really.

Minnie closed her eyes, resisting the desperate desire to cover her ears. She had the unsettling thought that this wasn’t how life was supposed to be.


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