The line was long. It stretched all the way through the funeral home, full of people, young and old. Strangers and familiar faces from college. A reunion of the worst kind. I'm not good in serious situations; not only do I not know what to say, I tend to babble. Or laugh at inappropriate moments. Snappy comments floated through my head, waiting to burst through my lips, but I managed to hold them back. All I wanted to do was make someone laugh, break the tension, but it wasn't the time. Not while one of my best friends was standing at the front of the room next to her brother's casket.
I was nervous to see her. I didn't know what to say. I kept running the scenario through my head, as I do in almost any situation, rehearsing my lines and wondering what variations I could say if she said something I wasn't expecting. But how was I supposed to prepare for what I couldn't anticipate? As it turned out, the minute I saw her, all my rehearsing didn't matter. I looked at her, she looked at me, we both burst into tears, and I knew exactly what to say.
As I hugged my friend and she sobbed against my shoulder, I told her I loved her and that she was going to be OK. And a few minutes later, when she made a joke about crying into Heidi's hair and hoping it was clean, I realized I had been telling the truth.