A couple of weeks ago in Hampton Roads, we all thought we were going to get waterlogged by all of the rain we were getting. Instead of letting the gloomy skies get us down, we challenged our readers and writers go come of with a short story that ends with a kiss in the rain. Bena Dam accepted the challenge with this short and beautiful piece:
Overcast and dreary. It was a miserable morning. As all the family members in the house awoke and dressed in their best, the sun still struggled to make an appearance. After choking down a meager breakfast, everyone sat quietly listening to the ticking clock slicing through the silence with every jerk of the second hand.
“She’s here,” a deflated uncle announced. His hunched silhouette lingered in the doorway, briefly frozen in uncertainty. What now? The others filled in his inaction by gathering tubes of incense, boxes of candles, and packets of colorfully muted paper.
As young and old made their way outside, a massive black vehicle greeted them in front of the driveway. Clean, shiny, immaculate, and accompanied by four men dressed in the most proper top hats and tailcoats, it was a most unusual sight to American eyes. The eldest son, donning a white band tied around his forehead, marched forward, clutching a portrait of his mother in his tired arms.
The young watched as the elders quietly performed a traditional ceremony. They did not consciously understand every gesture, but what they saw resonated deep within their bones. The four impeccably dressed men returned to the massive black vehicle and slowly led the way out of the neighborhood. Two roundabouts and four left turns later, they arrived at a peaceful field dotted with fresh flowers. A mildly chilly breeze picked up and plucked a few petals as though the heavens opened up and inhaled deeply.
Everyone gathered in front of white daisy wreaths adorned with pink roses that spelled out Mum. As their eyes overflowed onto their cheeks, so did the sky weep. A cleansing rain swept over three generations, attempting to wash away the sadness. Silent and audible goodbyes were whispered and shouted. Before the final descent, the eldest and only daughter kissed the lid of her mother’s casket one last time.
Bena Dam is a graphic designer and artist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in studio art from the University of Virginia and an associate’s degree in graphic design from Tidewater Community College. Check out some of her work at behance.net/bena-dam.