Daniel Barnes stood as Arnia walked in. He allowed his eyes to inspect her. Arnia was a couple years younger than him and he remembered her as a very intimidating girl who looked straight through you and who people thought of as odd. She was born to an older mother with undisclosed illnesses and people whispered about her gifts. He wasn’t sure what those gifts were about but she looked as if she were very gifted indeed. Her attire was a bit too garish in his conservative opinion and her hair too short but the total package was something to behold. Reaching him, she offered her hand.
“Hello Daniel, it has been a long time.”
Daniel took her hand and actually kissed it but Daniel had always been the dressed up man who would kiss hands. He was moderately handsome and of average size and height with a receding hairline. His father before him owned the funeral home and he had always known what he would do. He was bedecked in a three piece suit and shiny shoes befitting his job. He offered her a seat and took one across from her.
“It is great to see you Arnia, you look amazing. What are you planning?”
“Something very simple, Ms. Ava had only one daughter and me and all her husbands and most of her friends are dead. We could do something here at the chapel and offer a repast…” a look crossed Daniel’s face.
“I think you should speak to Ms. Wilma, she wants it at St. Episcopal and a lavish feast afterwards.”
Heat rushed through Arnia; she needed to make her way to Wilma’s for sure. After all she was Ava’s only born child.
“Okay, I will do that could you help a sister out and tell me what lavish means?” Hearty chuckles escaped Daniel at Arnia’s question.
“She doesn’t mean caviar and champagne but she wants steak, sautéed greens, sweet potato soufflé and cakes by the Cake Lady for one hundred people with whiskey, she claimed her mom enjoyed whiskey.” Arnia grinned at that because Ms. Ava was known to take a sip of Johnnie Walker nightly before climbing in bed.
“That is good but where does she come up with her numbers. Most people think she was dead years ago and only me and Wilma visit her.” Daniel shrugged nonchalantly.
“That is what Ms. Wilma wants.”
“I am going to see her when I leave here and the funeral is two days later, I will let you know by tomorrow morning at the latest. In the worse scenario, we could allow people from the shelter to come eat it.”
“You are still that woman, aren’t you Arnia?”
“What woman is that Daniel?”
“The woman who cares about everything and everyone…”
“But who looks like she cares about nothing…” Arnia completed the saying for him.
“So, you knew that was how you were viewed?”
“Of course, I will be in touch.”
She walked out into the sunshine, stopping to grab a sausage and pepper roll from the food truck before getting in her car and taking the hour long drive to deal with Wilma.