even as I kissed his head, and laid my lips and heart onto the forehead of his Savior. Even if I had forgotten it, it forced its way around me when I made my way back to pew in the very front of the room.
This funeral was unlike the others; I was the star of the night. Everyone knew I was the only one who ever truly spoke to the man in the casket. Everyone moved their incense toward me assuming my thoughts were of him, and hoped my prayers would be sent rather than their guilty consciences. Their bilingual whispers made this unmistakably the right room, but I was surrounded by strangers. I had never quite understood why he had taught me Slavonic, or why I learned it, while the rest of the people in this room remained ignorant. I never understood until that moment when the incense dragged me into a deep sleep.
I woke to a white fog of smoke and people above me. My mother waved a picture frame in front of me. It fanned in slow motion; the incense blocked everything but the few inches between me and the frame. I’ll never forget the instant when my dizziness cleared, and the incense answered all of my questions in the most unique of ways. There she was, standing next to him. My great grandmother standing hand in hand with him, wearing the ring that is now on my finger, mimicking my every curve, and staring back at me as if she knew all along that this would happen. That moment when the incense finally made me look into the mirror and realize that I am everything that she was. I am a replica of everything my Great Grandmother was, despite never meeting her.
I grasped the picture in a horrific manner, and suddenly, all of my remorse and anger toward the strangers in the room with me fled. I finally thought of the strangers as family while the incense suddenly seemed lighter. As if it were mimicking my heart and my grudges, it lifted into the high ceilings of the church, and disappeared into the ‘onion’ which represented our Heaven. It felt as if my Great...
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