Along the side wall, six year old Pikku Niemi, dressed in his only pair of dress pants and dress shirt with a borrowed tie sat in a folding chair eating an M&M cookie. His feet, crossed at the ankle, swung in and out and picked up speed when he saw his Aunty Patty, who in a few years would actually be raising Pikku, approaching. Avoiding eye contact, Pikku focused his gaze on a sheet of paper that lay on the carpeted floor to his right. In the upper right corner, an imprint of a shoe overlaid the image of an angel. As Aunty Patty sat down in the chair to Pikku’s right, he shifted to his left.
Aunt Patty placed her right hand on Pikku’s knee and asked, “How are you hon? Doing ok?”
Pikku took a nibble of his cookie, “I’m ok Aunt Patty. Just wanna go home.”
“I know dear these things are not much fun are they? But it’s important for us to be here. It shows respect. You know what respect is, don’t you hon? Now if you need anything, you let Auntie Patty know, ok? You’re a good boy and Auntie Patty loves you very much, you know that don’t you? That Auntie Patty loves you?” Although Pikku nodded, Aunt Patty didn’t see as she was busy scanning the room. “Have you seen your father? I haven’t seen him for a while I wonder where he went off to. I hope that he isn’t getting drunk somewhere. It would be overly embarrassing if he gets drunk and makes a scene. That is just something Aunt Patty cannot deal with today.” Aunt Patty mumbled, “Oh, shit!” and took off.
Pikku watched Aunt Patty’s back side fishtail as she took long strides toward his father, who stood unsteadily in the doorway using a stand of white and pink carnations intermixed with pink roses and white chrysanthemums as support. Pikku’s dad lifted his right leg and took a step to the right somehow missing contact with the floor. He lurched forward, but Aunt Patty reached him just in time to use her mass to contest the fall, stating loudly in an exuberant voice, to anyone that had witnessed the scene, “You poor dear. You have exhausted yourself. Look at you. You are just dead on your feet. Come here, let me help. You have been under so much stress the past few days, no wonder. I bet you haven’t been sleeping either. Now no matter what you do you need to take care of yourself. Just who is going to be looking after poor Pikku if you get sick or something happens to him? Huh? Just who? So let’s get you settled somewhere quiet and get some food in you. I bet you haven’t been eating either. What am I going to do with you?” Aunt Patty’s voice could be heard as she walked Pikku’s father out of the viewing room and down the hall.