Welcome to your past

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As I sit in the funeral chapel, I see faces that are distant in familiarity, echoes of a former life. We do not rush to make eye contact. Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash gospel songs play through the aged speakers, and blue Southern California skies (the kind devoid of clouds, with a faint haze pulling toward the horizon) illuminate the lavender accents in the windows of the chapel. A cedar tree reaches into view between the strips of color in the glass at the front of the room. I sign the guest book, cautiously scanning the pages for names I might recognize.

It has been more than 25 years since I last saw these people. My mind stutters as it struggles to connect the dots; I simply do not know where to begin. I find my lip trembling, but I am not so sure that is is over the loss of this person or rather the reality of my past swelling up around me. I am writing all of this from a nearly empty chapel, where I have chosen a seat in the middle of the room, well behind the nearest attendee…

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