We were to wait for the dead mans’ sisters, who were coming from town, before we took the corpse away. The short man – a brother of the corpse, I found out – paced the junction as we waited.
“Bloody women. You know how they are. I don’t know why they need to see him in that state.”
My dad too was anxious because he could not get in touch with the priests. He would have me dial and redial their home and mobile numbers but to no gain.
Another conversation took place.
“There’s a nip in the air”, remarked my father, meaning it has gotten chilly.
“Sure, there’s a nip in the shade”, replied the brother. A thought came to him then. “And that’s another thing.” He pointed to the chimney. “There was no smoke. There was no fire lit all weekend. That’s how I knew.”
He had to break into the house through the back door.
“I didn’t want to break in, you know”, he had said earlier. “He would have beat our brains if we broke in while he was there.”
I was leaning against the hearse as a Taxi came around the corner, stopping at me. The window rolled down.
“There someone dead here? Bill is it?”
“Yeah, well, um.” I mumble. “You would have to ask…” and I motion to my left as the brother strolls over.
“Ah, Bill is it?”
“Ah yeah. Found him this morning. Seems to have been that way over the weekend.”
“Jesus. And I saw him standing at the gate last week. I’m his neighbour, you know. Just from down there, on the left. Keith.”
“David, his brother.”
They shake hands.
“I sorry for your loss. I was gone there for a while but I’d see him around. Jesus.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”
My mother rang my phone then as the taxi pulled away.
“Tell dad that Mrs. Reidy died in St. Clemencies. And that John Ryan is coming down now.”
“And dad will know what that’s about?”
“Yeah. Where are you now?”
“Still here waiting for the mans sisters. They’re coming from town. Someone went for them.”
“You’re still there! Oh.”
I had found a quite corner to talk in, keeping my head down and into my chest during the call. I looked up briefly to see where my father was as a Nissan Micra pulled into the space in front of the hearse. Two women got out.
“The sisters are here mam. I have to go.”
My dad and the sergeant greet them. I just watch as they walk into the house.