I’m sorry, she said to the corpse.
He didn’t say anything back at first. He just lay there in his coffin, smiling a little, his belly still full and lively, his beard pointy and dapper. Funeral wasn’t starting for half an hour, probably twenty minutes before anyone else showed up.
I guess I didn’t always appreciate you, she said. I mean, I was always so mad about how you treated Mom. And the divorce.
He had a scratch on his cheek. She wondered how long he’d had it, when he had gotten it, and how long it would have taken to heal.
I’m sorry I didn’t go to any parties at your house, she said. I’m sure they were really good parties. And that I never went to any of your concerts. Which I know were really important to you. I just felt weird going, with all your new artsy friends and your new life.
It was awkward just staring at him, so she looked down at the program. It had a picture of him standing atop his boat, in a life vest, doing something with the sail.
And I’m sorry I never went on your boat, she said.
He opened his eyes, smirked a little harder.
I never invited you on the boat, he said.
Which was just like him, opening his eyes and talking when he was supposed to be dead.
I thought that’s because I didn’t act interested, she said.
No, he said. It’s because I know you’re chicken. Boats are scary. You’re too scared to even go to a concert.
I wasn’t scared, she said. I was uncomfortable.
I don’t see the difference, he said. He opened his eyes a little wider. He wasn’t going to sit up, was he? Because that would cause a lot of problems. She could hear the funeral home director and the pastor talking in the hallway outside, and some other voices, maybe the first guests.
You see, he said? Scared. I was considering coming back to life, but I wouldn’t want to ruin your funeral. I know you don’t like last-minute changes to your plans.
No, stop it, she said. Of course you should come back to life, if that’s what you want.
No, no, you don’t really want it, he said. And I don’t want to inconvenience you. Go on, go out, say hi to everybody. You wouldn’t want to be a bad hostess.
She hated when he got passive-aggressive, but she was also relieved. He had ruined so many events with his antics, his insistence on unconventionality.
Hey, she said, to change the subject. How did you get that scratch?
But his eyes were closed again, his face still. He looked peaceful, which was unlike him, but she thought it looked nice.