Sarah sits in the corner of a small basement, besides a bucket of cleaning sprays and a mop, its thick white hairs petrified-dried in shock. Her eyes are hollow shells; she has been continually crying for the last 3 hours, warm tears that wet her curled face and a weeping gurgle that duets with the low-pitched growling of the water pump. Her eyes are hollow shells because she has been grieving. She is hiding here, away from the swarm of guests upstairs.
Upstairs is where everyone else is. Everyone else except the one person she would turn to when feeling this low, everyone else and one empty body, waiting to be buried. Her mother and father attend to guests feigning grief, she can’t bear to meet or mingle with them and their water-glass eyes, their plastic words and empty quasi-hugs.
They cannot bring her brother back, so why are they even here?
Sarah leans forward into her folded knees, as she re-remembers his presence and his lack of presence all at once. Her stomach re-knots in paralysed disbelief, about to release a new surge of sobs and rain of tears.
A light shines at the top of the stairs. Rosie pokes her head through the opening basement door, chubby fingers holding onto the doors edge. She looks Sarah in the eyes, concerned, and smiles deliberately at her.
Sarah does not return the smile.
“They’re calling you” Rosie says, her small voice echoing softly down the narrow concrete stairs towards the dusty dark corner Sarah sits in.
“Mom, and auntie is asking about you”
“I don’t know…the one with the funny laugh”