They all sat facing forward. A formless black mass. Their heads bowed in prayer as I made my way down the aisle. A few lifted their eyes to catch a glimpse, wondering who I was and how I dared to come so late. I took my seat at the front, next to a woman I presumed to be his wife. I set my little boy on my lap and faced forward. The woman, not much older than myself, looked over at me startled.
“Who are you?” she whispered.
“I think you know who I am,” I returned.
“These seats are reserved for family and close friends,” she hissed.
“Does the mother of his child count as such?” I returned.
She glowered at me, but said nothing. I knew her type. She wouldn’t make a scene here, but in the privacy of a sound proof room, she’d let me have it.
We endured the ceremony sitting next to one another. I watched as she rose to give her eulogy to him.
“…He was a great man who was loved by all. But most of all, he was a man who loved life and all it had to offer him…” she finished.
With that everyone rose and began filing out into the reception area. The mood had lightened. Now they were to celebrate his life. The man that he had been. I was probably going to get a talking to, but what did I care?
I rose, following the others into the reception area. She followed close behind.
“Where do you think you’re going?” she hissed.
“I have every right to celebrate the man he was-” I started.
“No,” she said cutting me off, “Not until I’ve had a word with you.”
“Why?” asked the little boy in my arms, “What has mama done?”
“Why don’t you go and play with the other…others while I talk to your mother?” she said with a forced smiled.
“Why did you bring a child to a funeral, are you insane?” she hissed.
“Stop being mean to my mama!” he said loudly, catching the attention of several guests.
“Shh, Adrian, it’s alright,” I said reassuringly.
He frowned, “But she’s being mean. You always said to stand up to bullies. She’s a bully!”
“I know baby, but let mama talk to her. Maybe she has something worthwhile to say,” I said.
“Damn straight I have something worthwhile to say. Get. The. FUCK. out,” she said enunciating each word.
“I thought I’d just come and meet you,” I shrugged, “I didn’t have to, but I thought it’d be the civil thing to do.”
“Well leave. You’ve outstayed your welcome,” she snarled.
I shrugged and walked in amongst the guests, losing myself in the crowd. He had touched so many people’s lives in his life time it was only right to have so many well wishers at his funeral.
I chatted with a few of the guests, all of them too polite to breach the subject of my relationship with him. From a distance I saw a young couple looking at us curiously. They seemed like interesting people and I approached them.
“Hello,” I said with a smiled, “My name is Brienne. This is Adrian. Thank you so much for coming today.”
“Hello, I’m Marcie and this is Luke,” introduced Marcie, “So how do you know Caleb?”
“We were high school sweethearts,” I answered, “Circumstances drew us apart…and then together again. But as luck would have it, he was already married.”
“So…Adrian is-” started Luke.
“Aren’t you a little young to have a child?” he asked.
I shrugged, “I suppose.”
“Do you mind me asking…when?” asked Marcie awkwardly, “I mean, Luke and I want…to have kids, but we’re kinda young too…”
I smiled, “I had Adrian when I was eighteen. That’s what initially drew us apart. But when Caleb discovered his wife was…how do I put this delicately, unable to provide what he wanted most in life, he came running straight back to me. You see, years ago, he just wanted to have fun. He wasn’t in it for a seriously relationship or committed to providing for a child.”
Marcie looked at Luke who nodded, taking her hand in his.
“Thank you Brienne…you’ve given us something to think about as we prepare for our life together. We’re so sorry for your loss,” murmured Luke.
I nodded drifting away again.
“A lot of people liked daddy didn’t they?” asked Adrian.
I nodded and said, “But you must know, daddy loved you most of all.”
Prompt: “Aren’t you a little young to have a child”