Alexander had never been happier for his father’s tight grip on his shoulder. He knew his dad was only doing it to hold himself together, gripping tightly to whatever he could to keep himself from crying. And Alexander knew that he was probably going to have unintentional bruises on his shoulder when this was all said and done, but he didn’t care. That reminder that his dad was there too, hurting too, needing something to hold onto, that was all that was holding Alexander together.
And it was only when Alexander’s father let go of his shoulder that he knew it was time to move. Because he wasn’t listening to anything that the priest said. It was important to his mother that the church be involved in this funeral, but Alexander knew his sister wouldn’t have wanted a priest anywhere near her burial, and listening to the priest say her name just made Alexander want to punch someone–and he figured that punching a priest was not going to help his mother or father in anyway.
But his dad let go of his shoulder, and Alexander walked forward to lay the rose that his mother had given him earlier onto the wooden casket that his sister would stay inside forever.
He stepped back, and let his father grab his shoulder all over again. The bruises were not going to be pretty. But he needed to be there for his father, just as much as his father needed to be there for him. If they were going to make it through this, then they had to stick together.