Polly

Polly’s body wasn’t cold yet when the weather started to warm. Spring used to be her absolute favorite season, and it was almost poetic how she died on the first day of the season. Almost. Polly was always almost something. At age four, she was almost a ballerina, at age twelve, she was almost a treasure hunter, and most importantly, at age fifteen, she was almost the love of Elmer’s life. But one thing led to another and mortality reared its ugly head, and the pair had not seen each other since their high school graduation ten years prior.

She had died sometime between lunch and dinner while reading in her home; if she had lived in Europe, it would’ve been easy to say she had died around tea time. However, Polly did not live in Europe, and the question “when did she die” was usually answered with “Wednesday”. The funeral was arranged by a brother and cousin, whom she had not seen in a couple of years, and she was buried that same Friday. This proved to be an inconvenience to most of Polly’s colleagues at the office, but the small few that were able to make it joined the modest crowd that consisted of estranged relatives, forgotten friends, and Elmer.

The funeral was short and sweet, filled with sniffles, sideways glances, and a beautiful eulogy from her boss about her work ethic and organizational skills. Everyone looked sad when she was lowered into the ground, it was well rehearsed. The humble party dispersed quickly, her brother and cousin leaving first, hand in hand.

There were whispers as the crowd left; whispers about the pet fish Polly had left behind, dinner plans, and the usual conspiracy, of course. Elmer didn’t pay much attention but rather walked to the edge of Polly’s grave and sighed.

“Beautiful day, isn’t it?” A man in dark sunglasses asked Elmer. If he was mourning, he was doing a very good job of hiding it.

“Almost,” Elmer replied putting his hands in his pockets and lightly swaying on his feet. He kept quiet, and they both watched a pair of workers pushing the dirt back into Polly’s grave. Elmer dug into his pocket and produced a cigar and a lighter. “Do you smoke?” He asked the man.

The man shook his head, “Those things will kill you, I would know, “he halfway smiled at Elmer. “I hope you don’t need it, but if you do, here’s my card. I’m trying to get into the business and Ms. Polly here was my first.” Elmer took the card reluctantly; it was sleek and had only the word Mortician and a phone number on it. There was no name, but on the back written in blue pen were the words call me. The mortician looked at Elmer knowingly and walked off. Halfway to his car, he turned back and called out “I’m sorry for your loss,” and left.

Elmer threw the card into Polly’s grave and went home.

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