UPDATE: the Odyssey Scoop link does not appear to work half of the time, so try this link instead and click on “PennyBassett Fanfiction” http://odysseyscoop.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=23
Hey nerds! The very popular (and personally I think the best) AIO Fanfiction writer PennyBassett on the Odyssey Scoop forums has kindly written us a fanfiction. It’s good stuff so pull up a chair and enjoy! I COMMAND YOU TO SHED A TEAR. OR SNIFF. OR SMILE FONDLY.
You can find Hannah’s other writings on the Odyssey Scoop forums at the first link, or at her very own Odyssey site at the second link.
I craned my neck around until I could see the back of the giant auditorium. Over 400 attendants had been seated in the massive room. City workers, friends, a few family members, but mostly- kids. So many kids. I suspected that most had come from Oswald Heights. My suspicions were later confirmed. They weren’t dressed nicely, but their tear stained faces said more thanks than pretty dresses or fancy collars ever could. I turned back to the stage and adjusted my vintage style black dress to cover my knees like it was supposed to. Eugene and Katrina sat next to me, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw Katrina’s hand slip into her husband’s as he kissed her head, which rested on his shoulder. A pang of hurt lit up as I wished I too had someone to hold me during this dark time. My mom had been out of town for nearly a month, and Mitch- there it was again. That heartbreaking name I had been trying not to think of all day. I didn’t even know why. I’d gone weeks at a time without thinking about him. But something about the past few days re-emerged feelings- memories, I thought I had overcome. I pushed my feelings for him down and focused my eyes on the stage. The lights dimmed, and the side doors were shut as Trent, Mandy, Marvin, and Tamika walked onto the stage and led the congregation in a few songs. Trent played the cello, Tamika was on the piano as usual, and Mandy and Marvin sang. They were Tom’s favorite songs. Among these were, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, How Great Thou Art, and, the recently popular Good Good Father. Just months ago, you could’ve found Tom wandering around his farm, or in a corner booth at Whit’s End humming that memorized tune. While this father figure was alive, I had found the habit annoyingly repetitive. Now, I’d give anything to hear him sing it one more time.
Whit began the speaking portion of the ceremony of course. He said the usual. That we should be sad because we lost a friend. But that we should be happy because we’ll see him again in heaven, etcetera. Though, to be honest, it all felt meaningless. His empty words just blurred together in a distorted image of pain and tears. I felt lightheaded, and I just wanted Whit to come down from that stupid stage and take me into his arms. He finally did, eyes red and puffy. He sat down next to me, and I felt his hand on my back.
“You okay?” He whispered. I nodded, as I realized the tears stained onto my face. I had gotten so used to crying, that it just felt natural. I hadn’t even realized I was. Eugene went up next. He spoke of humorous memories of Tom. How he’d laugh at Eugene for his obsessive grammar. I felt a pang lit up in me at the words, “I wish I’d spent more time laughing with him, instead of correcting him.”
Eugene cried. He stood there, going on about funny memories, while tears streamed down his face. A thought came to me. It was sort of random. I thought about Whit’s funeral. The one that hadn’t happened yet, but was sure to. I wondered what I was going to say, what Eugene was going to say. I slowly looked over at Whit. He was here. Right now, he was here. That was enough. I focused back on the next speaker. Eugene had sat down, just as Tony and Brianna Mulligan were stepping onto the stage. I would go after them.
A couple weeks ago, Tony and his now 10-year-old sister, Brianna were officially adopted into the large Mulligan clan. You could see how much they had improved since the court date. Brianna, who used to cower in a corner at the sight of another child, or an object which reminded her of her scarred past, was now singing in her church’s choir and playing leads in school musicals. Then Tony, having recently gotten over rapidly overpowering alcohol addiction, was uncontrollably writing songs about Jesus. He and Brianna performed a song they had composed for Tom, only weeks before he died.
I broke out of the trance their music had put me in, and walked up to the stage, my heart in my throat. I adjusted the microphone, took a deep breath, and looked out into the audience.
“Um, hello everyone. For those of you who don’t know, my name is Connie Kendall. I knew Tom for years, and thought of him as a spiritual father. I thought for a long time about what to say when I got up here. So, here it goes. Tom was an incredible man. He never refused to help someone. He was always there for anyone who needed him. This was kind of incredible considering what he’d gone through prior to most of his generous acts. He’ll be dearly missed, and though I’m sad he’s gone, I think I can have hope. And I can be inspired. Because of Tom, I’m inspired to look past the tragedies in my life and use them to help others. And I can have hope because I know he’s in heaven, and I know I’ll see him again.”