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Funerals and Focaccias

Page 4

Elizabeth Terry

My mind snapped back to the eulogy, the buzzing in my ears. I observed the lunchtime cafe goers who peered through the transparent curtain at the numerous recycles of the video, the numerous recycling of the pitch-perfect Vera Lynn singing about a Nightingale in Berkeley Square, Doris’s favourite song. The Lavazza competed aggressively by rudely spitting. The barista ground the coffee beans at full volume, and Enya sang Sail Away on the cafe’s sound system. I was overwhelmed by the noise, stressed by embarrassment though I did smile to myself. Sail Away, an accidental but appropriate choice of song, considering each of her husbands was a naval man, and now she had embarked on her final cruise.

Michelle, a good friend of mine, was the celebrant. Her second gig ever. I suggested she might want to decline, knowing Nerida’s eccentricities, but she accepted.     

“Good to practice on,” she commented. “Money’s good and if I can manage Nerida, I can do anything. After all only 12 people. What could go wrong apart from an escaped golf ball from a misplaced drive off the 9th tee hurtling through the window killing someone? Probably good for business.”

My Michelle excelled. Calm, collected, dignified as always. I was very proud of her.

Those unlucky enough to come to the restaurant for lunch that day, grandmas with daughters with babies, business people, those obviously having office liaisons, all had the opportunity to attend a funeral for the price of a toasted focaccia and a flat white.  We adjourned to the large table for lunch. A nice lunch. Three courses and wine.  A good Sav Blanc from New Zealand. Appropriate, her last husband was from Christchurch.

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