Midnight Funeral

It was in the middle of the night when I heard the funeral music.  I was five years old and it was my Dad, home from the pub, playing Mendelssohn in the front room on his bellows organ to annoy the woman next door.  He said she was spying on us.  She might have been.  She was always out in the dark, prowling around by our back window like someone who had recently escaped from the asylum and didn’t know her way home.

The window in our bedroom had no curtains, so I just stared at the moon and felt the vibration of the massive chords below.  Dad said we had no bedroom curtains so that we could look up at the moon and stars and dream of Heaven at night.  He said Heaven is a warm place and you are never hungry in Heaven because you can have as much bread and jam to eat as you want.  And he said that children are God’s favourite in Heaven because they are innocent, like the lamb.  So if children die they will go to sit at the feet of God.  That’s what Dad said.

He told us we should pray to Jesus if we are hungry and He will provide.  So I prayed on my knees on the bare boards by the bed.  I prayed every night.

I still feel warm when I think of Heaven.  And I still picture Jesus slicing a big loaf of white bread and spreading it with thick strawberry jam.  Sometimes you have to go somewhere where you are never cold or hungry.  A place where you can be innocent again.

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