TITLE: Before I Wake
"Did you know that the average cremated adult female becomes about 4 pounds of ashes?"
How the hell would I know that? And why would I even care? I wondered as I turned to see a lanky kid with thick-rimmed glasses slumped on the church pew. I shook my head.
"It's Anna, right?" he asked. I nodded. "Well, Anna, did you know that the average male becomes six pounds? Of ashes?" He sniffled and dragged the back of his hand against his nose. "But they aren't really ashes you know."
"No, I didn't," I said. I spun on my heel, hoping to go back out to the narthex where my grandma Mimi was talking with a couple of guys in dark suits. They kept their voices lowered and she shot me a look. I knew immediately what it meant so I stayed in the sanctuary.
"The ashes actually come from bone fragments which are the only things left after the cremation process. We grind them up and that's actually the ashes, you know, that people sprinkle."
"Fascinating," I said. I lied. Ashes and bone fragments were the furthest thing from my mind.
"Oh, but your mom isn't being cremated, huh?" he asked. He got up from the bench and walked toward where I stood leaning against the door frame. "Worm food. That's cool, too."
"Who the hell are you?" I asked though I instantly regretted saying 'hell' in a church.