The Paper


Everybody dreaded getting the newspaper. But like a good little herd of sheep, every morning, everyone who was old enough to read, stood in line in the three places the paper was given out – the central grocery store, the post office on the other side of town, and the largest church, adjacent to the state park.
Everyone hesitated to look at the obituaries at the end of the publication, but they all ended up doing so, no matter which ritual they compiled to get there, or how many distractions where in their day.
They all looked, just like my parents did, everyday, waiting until we were home, where we sat around the table. My father overlooked the procedure, being the one who quietly read each name as it showed itself upon that dreadful page.
No one wanted to see their name there.
No one wanted to see the name of a loved one there.
Because the paper knew.
It knew when it was your time to die.

This morning, like any other, he was reading quietly, sipping the cup of coffee Mom provided for, each and every time, freshly brewed, moved into the fine china our Grandmother had brought from Germany. The delicate handles never hid the slight shaking of his hand, and the smile of relief he gave all of us, when none of our names where listed.
Another day living without the burden of death.
His expression on this morning was different.
He starred at me, a deep stare, one what questioned but one that also knew that I had been watching him. Closely.
He quickly rose up, leaving the paper behind, moving out of the room, as I grabbed it, frozen by the words in front of me, in the silence of dinning table.
“Dr. Wayne Duncan, 52, will be put to rest at the Cornerstone Baptist Church, together with his wife Sherry Duncan 43. The couple will be missed by their three children, Mary, Jennifer, and Jackson.”
In a move to keep the sight from my younger siblings, I pulled it closer and turned it, only to be shocked by its headline.
“Two dead in murder-suicide. Prominent West-End Doctor beats his wife to death, then shoot and kills himself.”

Copyright Claudia H. Blanton 2014

This is a responds to the Daily Prompt post for today, you can find it here:

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