Narrative Essay Final Draft
25 November 2010
A Lesson in Sistering
I flung open the door of Grandmother’s black sedan the moment we stopped and started toward the somber, grey building. I kicked up grimy drops of water as I skipped through a puddle along the way, and smiled in rebellious satisfaction at the brownish grey flecks spattered over my white patent leather shoes. My sister, Lauren, tried to copy me by stomping in the puddle. She made a splash so big, little wet spots appeared up her legs and on the bottom of her blue dress. I was seven, so I knew how to kick the water without ruining my dress, but Lauren was only five and barely knew anything at all.
“Stop being rambunctious.” Grandmother admonished us, “Remember to show respect for the dead.”
We nodded and prepared ourselves by taking a deep breath and putting on very serious faces as we walked through the door and paused just inside. Once our eyes adjusted to the low lights we could see thick, dark drapes drawn over the windows and a high table a few feet past the entryway with an open book, where a few people gathered to speak softly.
“Watch your sister and don’t get into anything.” Grandmother gave me a stern look for good measure, then left to sign the book and talk with the adults.
The stale air smelled of baby powder and flowers, and there were several vases filled with bouquets, along with easels holding pictures of the deceased man. The coffin rested at the far end of the room on a table with a ledge in front to kneel and pray over the body. It was wooden with flowers over the lower half, and less ominous than I’d imagined it would be. The lid was open. Electricity zipped around in my stomach when I thought of the body, and I wanted to rush over to the coffin to see what a dead person looked like up close, but I had to show Lauren how a mature person behaved.
“Why isn’t anyone crying?” asked my sister in a whispery voice.