There was only a row of mourners in front, before the open casket, all of them in black, the women with lacy black shawls wrapped around their heads.
The dead man lay in profile, chalky white.
They hardly said a word when I asked who he was and how he died. They were looking down. But as I turned to get my book, a young woman came up. We are from Albania, she whispered, and I’m the only one who speaks English.
It’s not words that matter but the saying of them, the rise and fall. It’s not ideas that matter. It’s faith. And as I opened my book and began to say the prayers, I realized that I was standing in front of the casket. I was blocking their view. All I had to do was get out of the way.