Cleveland’s Funeral

I'm told, by the way, that Cleveland's funeral was a strange affair, attended by drunks, mysterious riffraff, and all his shadowy family. Feldman and Lurch, with a dozen other bikers, formed the usual MC funeral formation around the hearse. The service itself was performed by Cleveland's great-uncle, the Reverend Arning, who was a dwarf; Cleveland's sister Anna, flown in from New York City, wore his leather jacket at graveside; his father's lover, Gerald, wept hysterically and had to return to the car. Abdullah stood the whole time, so he has said, with his arm across Jane's shoulders, dreading the moment that she should begin to cry, but, like the lover of a cancer victim who has been dying for a long time, she seemed strong and resigned and without bowing her head, watched impassively the Reverend's sorrowful, tiny hands, the subdued antics of the crowd. She wore a weird, pointy black dress that had been her mother's forty years before in rural Virginia, so that she lent her own touch of comic sadness to the funeral Cleveland could not have designed any better himself. I now regret very keenly that I missed it. I wanted to say good-bye.

When I remember that dizzy summer, that dull, stupid, lovely, dire summer, it seems that in those days I ate my lunches, smelled another's skin, noticed a shade of yellow, even simply sat, with greater lust and hopefulness -- and that I lusted with greater faith, hoped with greater abandon. The people I loved were celebrities, surrounded by rumor and fanfare; the places I sat with them, movie lots and monuments. No doubt all of this is not true remembrance but the ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything.

-- Michael Chabon, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1988), 296-97.

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