It was about an hour before the funeral was supposed to start, and the room was packed with the family. I was doing the service for the family, but Lea was there to visit some friends that were part of the family that she hadn’t seen in a long time. We walked around visiting in different circles, but my mind was really on the service and making sure I had all my thoughts together. Since I had already visited with the family, I had pretty much resigned to simply follow Lea around the room as she talked and hugged the necks of old friends.
As we stood in a little circle of people, I scooted in close enough to Lea that our arms touched. I noticed that as soon as we touched she moved away to put distance between us. I thought that was all a little strange because Lea is an affectionate person even in public. Wondering if it was just an accident, I tested her again. This time I scooted even closer and seriously invaded her personal space. Again she immediately moved away when I touched her, putting even more space between us. I started wondering, “Did I do or say something in the last few minutes that made her mad?”
It kind of aggravated me that the woman who was supposed to like affection was doing this too me. It wasn’t like I was trying to snuggle with her at a funeral, I had simply scooted in close to her and she wasn’t liking it. Still a little frustrated by the whole thing, I thought to myself, “I’ll show her.” So for the next few minutes, every time she moved to put space between us, I moved to fill that space with myself. I never made eye contact nor did I even look up. I didn’t need to because I could feel the tension between us. Without saying a word, I could tell she was saying, “BACK OFF!” It’s easy to pick up on this kind of body language after 21 year of marriage.
FINALLY, after minutes of trying, she gave in and let me stand relatively close to her. As I stood there looking at the floor, as I had done through this whole nasty ordeal, I looked at her shoes. “That’s interesting,” I thought to myself, “I’ve never seen those shoes.” And then I noticed her toenails, “Black? I’ve never seen her toenails painted black.”
Confused, I immediately looked up. To my horror, the woman standing beside me was NOT Lea. In fact, I had never seen that woman in my life. She was the same size as Lea, but this woman was definitely NOT Lea. I’d spent the last few minutes deliberately trying to invade the personal space of some woman I did not know.
I was so confused. Where had Lea gone?? When had she walked off?? How long had I actually been trying to make a pass at this woman?? One thing I wasn’t confused about was the look on her face when we finally made eye contact.
I immediately did what any person in my position would have done … I high-tailed it out of there as fast as I could. When I finally found Lea, I think she could tell by the look on my face that something was wrong. As expected, when I told her the whole scary story, instead of getting sympathy, I got laughter.
After getting my nerve up, I did go back and explain to the nice woman that I was not trying to hit on her at her grandmother’s funeral. Thankfully after apologizing and explaining everything to her, she too thought it was funny.
Me? I just wanted to go crawl under a rock somewhere and hide.