Yesterday the bike was finally ready to be picked up from the shop. I had just enough time to get there, drop off the car and ride to a service they were having for Laura at local pub. As I parked in front in the “motorcycle-only” parking (I love that) I saw a friend, MK putting coins in the meter. I walked up to her and said “The meter maids get off at 5:00 so no need.” She gave me a look like “Who the hell are you?” since I still had my helmet on. I pulled it off just then and got a hug once she knew it was me.
We went inside and it was already starting to get crowded. We shook hands with Laura’s aunt and uncle who were working the door and then made our way up to the bar. Vodka tonic for MK iced tea for me. We looked around the room and it was quickly filling up to be standing room only. We decided to move off the bar to let other people order and just then Michelle and her gf, Kristen came in. After greetings were made they went off to the bar to order and I ran upstairs to check out Laura’s photography they had hanging and a continuous slide show of photos of her. As I walked up the stairs I was met with people descending with red eyes. I watched the slide show of smiling pictures of Laura. I smiled back thinking that was exactly what she was – a smiling force. I walked into the Belgium bar in the back and looked at photographs from her travels to India and Malaysia. There weren’t too many people in there just yet so I could take my time and really study them. On a table there was a scroll laid out in brail (not sure of the reason behind that but I’m sure there was one) that people wrote things to her on. I wrote a short paragraph on it, signed my old name and moved on downstairs.
As I went down the stairs the minister (a gay Baptist who was one of Laura’s best friends) said he was getting ready to start the service. I joined my friends who were shoved into a booth. I won’t go into detail about the service but it was very good. Many people went up and told funny stories about Laura which I think would be exactly what she wanted – all of us to share funny stories and laugh. As it came to a close we lit candles to pass around the room that signified her fiery spirit. Just as the first candle was lit we heard a clap of thunder and it started to pour outside. It hadn’t rained in almost a month here.
Once the service ended I moved off across the bar to say hi to another friend. On the way I ran into two other acquaintances Melissa and Kim (I say this lightly because I don’t like them at all). Melissa hugged me and asked how I was doing. [Thinking: just keeping up appearances are we?] I gave the standard “Fine under the circumstances.” Then the other, Kim, hugged me. [Thinking: What is this? Fake lesbian day and how did you ever know Laura?] Once I extracted myself from them I went to see the original friend I set out to hug. It seems like it’s always at funerals, wakes and services that you always have to hug people you dislike. I guess that’s all part of it. You take the people you want to see with the ones you [really] don’t. You get along with them for a short time for the deceased although, I’m sure Laura would have appreciated me punching either of them in the nose. She would have loved a ruckus to have been started. She was that type of girl – always stirring things up.
After all that I was ready to go. I hugged Kristen, MK and Michelle goodbye and headed for the door only to bump into another, Jackie who used to go out with Laura. I asked to see the ring she had given her while they were dating that she still wore. We talked for a minute and agreed to get together soon.
I finally pulled open the huge oak door and walked outside. It was coming down in huge drops, thundering and blowing. As I stood at the curb getting wet looking at my bike I could hear Laura laughing in my head at the practical joke she played on me by making it rain while I was on my bike. I guess it was she who caused the ruckus. I smiled back at her, pulled on my helmet and felt the wetness soak through the butt of my jeans as I sat down on the bike. I started it up and took off in the storm thinking of her.