"Bobby can't be gone. He just can't
be." Darla dissolved into a puddle of tears. Her husband, Sam, did his best to comfort her. He held her close and gave her a kiss on her forehead. "We'll get through this."
Darla cried out, "I just spoke to him on the phone two hours ago!" Sam had just told her the news: there had been an accident and it involved a custom painted, silver striped '67 Chevy and a train. There was only one person in the entire town of Springfield who owned a car like that. Darla could not believe that her friend of 35 years had been struck & killed by a train.
For weeks, the people of Springfield had been telling City Hall that the railroad crossing at Bay Street between 5th and 6th Avenues needed to be fixed, lest someone ends up getting struck by a train. The Mayor tried his hardest to find the funds needed to repair it, but the town was broke. He knew that. The townspeople knew that. But there was nothing he could do.
Everybody knew Bobby Paulson. Bobby owned the corner store on 8th Avenue where everyone went to grab their morning newspaper and a cup of coffee. He was a friendly man with thinning hair who was always looking out for everyone.
Darla had met Bobby in college. She was new to the area and he offered to show her around town. They became fast friends and flirted with the idea of possibly becoming lovers, but ultimately decided that doing so would ruin the friendship they had. That didn't stop them from thinking about the might-have-beens. Finding out about Bobby's death made it feel like someone was jabbing a thousand knives into Darla's heart. Darla loved Bobby.
There was not a dry eye in the funeral parlor. Because Bobby didn't have any living family, Darla was chosen to read the eulogy:
"Dearest Bobby Paulson, You were taken away from us too soon. I will never forget the time when we walked down to the lake and looked for frogs. That one frog meant business when it leapt up on my shoulder and I freaked out and then you calmed me down. You were always good at that. I'll also never forget the time when you decided to try your hand at being a stand-up comedian. You told that story about when you were growing up and how your cousin stuffed a shovel full of sand down your pants. I thought it was funny. The rest of the crowd, however, did not..." Darla was struggling to fight back tears. She took a long, deep, breath. "When you opened up that corner store, it was the best damn thing you could have ever done for yourself and Springfield. You got to know everyone and everyone got to know you. Thinking about you being gone is so hard for me to even fathom. It's surreal. I... I found out that I was the last person to talk to you before you were taken away from us. You ended the conversation with "See you next Tuesday!" Well, it is Tuesday now and instead of us going out for lunch, I'm standing here reading this. I will miss you, Bobby Paulson. I love you."
Darla didn't know how she was able to keep her composure throughout reading the eulogy, but somehow she did. She slowly walked back to her seat next to Sam and promptly burst into tears.
Bobby had always said that when he died, he wanted to be cremated. Darla was given the urn. After the last person left, she and Sam walked home. On the way home, Darla said to Sam, "Bobby's death is no longer inconceivable, but it sure as hell still hurts." Sam took Darla's hand into his and kissed it. "We'll get through this," said Sam.
This is my Week 5 submission for therealljidol. It is also my first time writing a fictional story.