Fierce Fiction: Kids Don’t Have To Wear Black At Funerals Oct02

Share This

Fierce Fiction: Kids Don’t Have To Wear Black At Funerals


A small Miranda story as written by Aimee Swartz

The day we buried my father was the hottest day of the summer. I woke up with my head half wet and the covers in a ball on the floor. Carla refused to sleep with the fan because she liked either silence or love songs. She couldn’t fall asleep to anything else.

On most summer nights we wore only underwear to bed and slept with icepacks under our neck that leaked through the night. When I woke up, my pillow was wet and smelled like sour apple, our favorite shampoo. I have to admit I liked the coolness of wet pillow, but when Carla suggested I just pour water on it before bed to get it over with, I just couldn’t, because it seemed like cheating.

Carla liked to oversleep, so for Christmas one year I bought her a alarm clock that played “Here Comes the Sun,” but she says she likes it better when I wake her up myself. Every morning she was in the same position – on her back with her hands to her side. I wished I could sleep looking like this, but I could only stay still when I was sick.

That morning, though, Carla was already up, showered, and getting dressed. She was humming a song they taught us in grade school; it was the one about a mule but it sounded like a lot of other songs. Carla had parted her hair on the side and covered her lips and eyelids with Vaseline, a tip from “Seventeen” for girls who were not allowed to wear make-up. Carla chose a white skirt with the blue ribbon around the bottom and a top that was the same color blue. She looked as if she were going to play a game of tennis.
“Kids don’t have to wear black at funerals, you know.  That’s what Ronnie Navarro told me,” Carla said when she saw me looking at her.

Ronnie, short for Veronica, lived down the street with her grandmother and about 10 cats. When her grandma died, we sent her a basket from the mall full of fruit, sausage, and sugar-free candy for Ronnie, who was the only diabetic and Mexican in our school. When we went to visit her a few weeks later, the fruit was rotten but the candy was gone.

“Ronnie doesn’t know any better. She didn’t have a proper mother, that’s why her she lived with her grandma,” I said. “Mom is going to make us wear black.”