“There’s always an icy wind blowing in that cemetery, even on the hottest day,” I heard him say in my head, as I contemplated taking off the vest under my cotton shirt. I kept it on, sniggering slightly as I heard him say what he always said after that. “It’s the dead centre of town you know.”
As I watched them lower his coffin into the grave and then start shovelling sand over him, I shivered in the icy wind which taunted me. I concentrated on the smell of the soil, trying to keep in the sobs that were choking me, here, in front of all my work colleagues, here to bury my best friend at work and constant office companion of 15 years.
My heart beat loudly in my ears as I watched a butterfly flit over a nearby gravestone, one belonging to somebody’s beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She was 95 years old when she died. He wasn’t yet 65. He hadn’t had time to retire, to celebrate him and his wife’s 40th wedding anniversary, to watch his granddaughter learn to walk.
It was tradition for me to, in general, do the opposite of what he recommended, but this time, as I bid him farewell, I was glad I’d listened to him and kept my vest on. It was cold.
The world is still feeling a bit surreal, I keep turning around to see if he’s sitting there behind me at his computer, grumpily, but steadfast, my friend. He’s not, though. No matter how many times I turn. I miss him.