I anxiously watched the snow dancing from the sky through the Jewish Community Center’s floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The sun was shining ironically through the dark gray clouds.
Some of my earliest memories are of my mother dropping me off for pre-school in this building. Everything looks so much smaller than it used to.
I had been in the room hundreds of times before over the course of my life. School plays, meetings, speakers and more. Each time different, but none like this.
The crowd was huge. Four hundred people. Maybe five. I hadn’t seen most of them in several years. Some not for decades. A common thread united us all.
I pull my phone from my pocket to send my mother a text. She won’t believe this.
I get distracted by another familiar smile and slide my phone out of sight. The warm embraces momentarily wiped the falling snow from the back of my mind.
Each face I encountered sparked another memory. An old neighbor or a Sunday School teacher. My memories of these people had evolved over time. Youth lives on, but often in the most romantic fashion.
I don’t remember her being so short. What’s left of his hair is now gray.
I took my seat next to my wife and infant son. The speaker began. My mind wandered as I looked around at the massive crowd.
Wow, I can’t believe he’s here. She looks younger than she did twenty years ago.
I need to call my mother to tell her what that guy just said. But now is not the time.
As the speaker rambles, my son lets out an enormous wail that jolts the room.
Mother won’t believe it when I tell her that so-and-so walked in 20 minutes late.
The speaker gives way to another. And then another. I hear their words but am lost in the sea of faces. Each one different like the falling snow.
I hear my name called and rise. I ascend the stairs.
Now is the time to tell my mother what’s on my mind.
As she rests in the pine box next to me.