“Welcome to our memorial service for Ian!” Ron greeted the small group of people who had gathered in the living room. At the front of the room stood a table with Ian’s photo positioned between two candles.
Steve sneered at Ron from his seat. In a good mood, aren’t we, he thought. The nerve of the way you acted at Ian’s funeral. You wouldn’t let me spend a few minutes with his ashes. And yes, Ian WAS my brother. Our friendship was that close. And how DARE you throw Ian’s ashes away like garbage. Now I know how much he meant to you.
Ron continued, “We’re here to celebrate Ian’s life, so if anyone has any pleasant memories to share…”
I beg to differ on your choice of the word “pleasant”, thought Ian’s brother-in-law Harry. Ian treated me like GARBAGE the whole time he knew me. He wouldn’t even be in my wedding! I tried many times to offer him the olive branch but he only burned it with his wrath. He never even told me what I did to get him so upset. I’m glad he’s gone.
Next to Harry sat his wife Sue, who was also Ian’s younger sister. I think I left the iron plugged in, she thought. I hope it has the automatic shutoff feature.
Next to Sue and Harry sat their 4-year-old daughter Diana, who couldn’t understand what was going on. Why did mommy make me leave my tablet in the car? I wanna play Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Behind them sat Ian’s older brother Jeff who was staring at the photo of Ian resting on the table. No potential, no ambition, no drive, and no purpose. No one’s life should ever be this empty.
“…any funny memories…”
Actually, I do have such a memory, thought Mr. Smith, who was their elderly next door neighbor, that sight of Ian sitting in a wheelbarrow in the side yard while completely wrapped in aluminum foil, but I doubt that even remotely qualifies as funny. I think I better keep quiet.
“…and perhaps any life-affirming lessons he may have taught you…”
I’ll get back to you on that, everyone thought simultaneously.
“…you may share them with us now.”
Steve had enough memories and stories of Ian to fill an entire evening, but he remained silent in protest of the way Ron had so crudely treated his dearly departed friend.
Ron looked around the room. “Anybody?”
Everyone else began looking around the room to see if there was anyone getting ready to speak, but there was nothing but silence.
“Short memorial service!” Ron laughed. “Thanks for coming.”
As everyone rose from their seats to leave, Ron and his wife Karen quickly extinguished the candles, put Ian’s photo away in the closet and dragged the table back to the family room, where they both sat down to watch TV for the rest of the evening.
Outside in the driveway, Steve glanced at his watch and shook his head.
Ian’s memorial service ran for all of three minutes.