I didn't make plans for my funeral or burial. They did not have cremation in my time. I was alone in Glenwood Springs, and I wished to spare my family the pain of long journeys and responsibilities that would surely cause them dismay. It was better for them to remember me as I had been - young, serious, diligent, productive, handsome (though I say it myself) - than an ill dissolute with a reputation they should not have to face. It was not that they did not know of my life - Mattie in particular, of course, and Robert - but it is one thing to bring comfort to an ill and despondent cousin than to meet his detractors, would-be murderers, or even his fellow sporting-men, lawmen, and... pioneers.
I did not even tell Wyatt. How could I bear to have him near, attentive in the shadow of Josie, to be granted
perhaps a few moments alone from tie to time. Better too for him to remember me riding at his side with his cause as my cause, my hand and heart as his, my gun and will at his service. How could I bear the shame of my hurt anger in Albuquerque resurfacing as it surely would in those circumstances.
The only plans I made were with my priest, to grant me the last rights at the proper time. I made my confession, received absolution. In the end, it was bitterly cold. He could not be present after all.
There were four people present at my funeral. Four. The good people at the hotel took a small collection to hold the service, to bury my body. But the ground was too hard to dig the grave in the cemetery and they had to bury my body in the easier ground lower down. A flood that year - spring run-off - dissolved and collapsed the hill above my resting-place and my body was lost.
My body was lost, but not my soul, for Gabriel came for me - the Angel of Death, who had marked my lip and followed me all my life, close as my own heartbeat.
Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Word Count: 361
Please comment if you wish.