“I was preparing your twenty first birthday,” she started, her voice faint, yet barely quivering. “You were always brave, Josh. The only thing you feared was that people would find out how sensitive you really were ... But this is what I love about you, Josh. You don’t have to be ashamed. I adored it when you read your poems to me. You inspired me. Now I want to read to you my very first poem:
The first clod of earth drops.
Soon, only memories remain.
The hole in the ground is filling.
But not in my heart
That will remain open
Sarah paused, her eyes landed on us, his team, and I realized that for those who did not know her, she would seem expressionless. But I could see how painfully she was biting her top lip and I wished that she, her words, and the entire ceremony would be over. I wished that I would be over. I wished that I would be anywhere but here.
Sarah stepped down. She did not stop. As she wandered away, a feeling of relief washed through my body: inappropriate lightness, unlike anything I had felt for weeks. I would not need to speak to her after all. I would not need to tell her my story.