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This page last viewed: 2017-06-26 and has been viewed 1518 times

Title: Respect

Respect

by  Cathy Fisher

 

Rating: G

Warnings: Perhaps a little angst, but not much

Summary:  Something happens at a funeral.  I know, not very detailed, but

any more would give it away

Comments:  This was not intended to be my first story, but it woke me up at

four in the morning and would not go away until I wrote it down.  It is my

first story and has not been beta'd.

Disclaimer:  Yeah, everyone knows that I could never afford to buy them much

less pay for their upkeep.  Just borrowing them for the purposes of my

story.  The bereaved wife is mine, though.

 

 

RESPECT

 

            I stood at the side of the doorway and greeted all of the mourners come to

pay their respects to my husband.  I knew I should be showing some emotion,

feeling something, but I couldn't.  Too many years in a house that was as

military as my husband, I guess.

 

            Don't get me wrong, I loved my husband, very much, and his death was the

worst thing that has ever happened to me.  It came very suddenly, with

little warning.  I never even got the chance to say good-bye.  So why was it

I could feel nothing in this church, this place where we had come to mourn

his passing.

 

            Dully I watched as the last elaborately dressed officer walked by me.  He

grabbed my hand and said something, but I don't know what it was.  His voice

was a speck of dust in the whirlwind of my mind.  I smiled woodenly and said

something, I don't know what, just to make him go away.

 

Finally, they signaled to me that they were ready to start and I walked to

my place at the front of the church.  As I walked, I looked around and felt

vaguely surprised at all of the military brass that had come to pay the

respect to my husband in death that they had never once given to him in

life.  I felt a brief spurt of anger and resentment well up, but once again,

I instinctually quelled it until I felt nothing once more.

 

I can't remember much of the service.  Others tell me it was beautiful and

that they sobbed the entire way through.  All I know is that some general,

whom everyone had assured me was the best person to handle my husband's

eulogy, stood up and spoke for half an hour on a subject he knew absolutely

nothing about.  I think there were other speakers, but I'm not sure.  I just

know that I was relieved when it was over and they began to get ready to

move the casket.

 

Suddenly, something remarkable happened.  The back doors to the church

opened and a ripple of silence spread over the audience like a stream on a

small rock.   Curious, I turned to see who had entered.

 

Four men in uniform stood just inside the doorway in a strict row.  I knew

instantly who they were.  How could I not?  They had been the whole of my

husband's life for two entire years.  He had even testified at the trial

that condemned them to death before a firing squad.  I knew that they had

escaped death and had somehow managed to obtain a pardon, but what were they

doing here.

 

Angry murmurs began to rise but were instantly stifled into an echoing

silence as the four men walked to the front of the church in complete unison

and snapped stiffly to attention before the casket of their once-nemesis. 

In a curious daze, I watched as their leader, a man with silver hair and as

many wrinkles around his eyes as my Rod had had, approached me and offered a

single white rose.

 

"Permission to honor your husband, ma'am?"  He spoke quietly, but his voice

echoed strangely in the tomb-like quality of the church.

 

Why, my mind screamed, as I nodded numbly and accepted the rose.  He made

your lives miserable for two years.  He even testified at the trial that

condemned you, for goodness sake.  Why?

 

With the smart precision born of many years of military practice, the silver

haired man stepped back into line with his men and snapped to attention. 

For a moment, they just stood there.  Then in perfect unison, without a word

being spoken, they saluted, held and released the salute as one.  Then once

again without a word or a command given, they turned together and marched

out of the church, their steps creating the rhythm of a drum roll on the

church's wooden floor.  Gone, as quickly as they had come; much as they had

acted during the time my husband had devoted all that he had to catching

them.

 

Chaos erupted from the crowd come to pay their respects to Rod, furious

voices wondering loudly at the audacity of those men to come here, now. 

Suddenly, as I looked around at the angry, indignant faces, everything

became clear to me.

 

I knew now who, in the end, had shown Rod Decker the most respect.

 

 


Respect by Cathy Fisher

 

 


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