Again, I didn’t belong there.
I can’t remember getting on the boat; the first thing I remember is watching two visibly older parents (made older by the events of the past month) watching a boat full of family take what was left of their boy.
They couldn’t get on the boat. They couldn’t come along.
Not because they weren’t allowed, but because they had already gone through too much.
It was a voluntary decision to not watch the final ceremony.
So they stood. Together.
On a gas dock.
Their faces twisted with grief. Him with one arm raised in a good-bye gesture.
To the boats? To his family? To his son?
I don’t remember who drove the boat.
Three siblings sat on the bow: the last ride with Pops.
an aunt and a future in-law held each other in the stern.
a widow clutched a metal box.
a pastor held his robes against the breeze.
and I sat alone in a small corner.
The day was a cliche. Bright and sunny and warm with the right wind.
People on the beach and pier were getting in their last summer kicks and watching all the boats go through the channel.
They had no idea what was on the first boat.
They had no idea no one was having fun this Labor Day weekend.
I knew those people were coveting the place the siblings held on the bow. I once watched boats and coveted that spot too.
That spot? I hope I am never in that spot.
Everything was the way he planned it.
Nothing was the way any of them wanted it.
And I watched it without tears.
From my corner.