The story of Cindy Jumper - Continued
The next day as the authorities were looking for whoever did this, Cindy's boyfriend/fiancé Chad (whom I had introduced her to), went off the deep end knowing that it was her shitty step-father. He went searching for him armed to the hilt. The police put him in protective custody because they knew that he would find this guy and kill him easily. The shithead was finally found back at his mother's house, gun in his sweats' pocket, sleeping comfortably on his mothers bloodsoaked, doiley-covered, shitty old dirty couch. He didnt fight authorities at all.
That day at school was one that I will never forget. You have to understand something about a town/community that is this small. There were only 25 kids in each GRADE, give or take. That means we had the same kids in every class, every hour, every day, of every year. Not much turnover in a small town.
In each class we went to that day, the teachers would all do the same thing. They would recite a practiced 5-minute speech about this great tragedy that had befallen us, yada yada yada, and we could go talk to couselors yada, or we could go to the library and talk to friends yada yada or just sit quietly in the class and speak amongst ourselves, which was the option taken by most of us, each hour. Then the teacher would introvert and get to grading tests or doing other busy work that would allow them to grieve without having to deal with us, or even look at us, allowing them to "remain strong in front of the kids" which is what they were instructed to do. WE were the class/grade, that had lost the student, and we were treated with more care than the other grades, naturally.
This is where one of our teachers stood out in my eyes. Mr. Mickles, our Geography/History teacher, upon our entering of his class for the final hour of the day, immediately closed the door to his room, an action that no other teacher had taken that day. He sat on his desk, and said that he was NOT going to go through the normal speech that all the other teachers gave, and that he himself had given to all of the other classes/grades, but we all knew the speech and could leave at any time. Instead, he said he wanted to just talk.
He explained that he was guilty of making a grave mistake. We had all heard Cindy's ramblings about how her step-dad would kill her and her mom when he got out and he was also guilty, along with us, of not taking it seriously. He told us that sometimes people say things with a tone that is designed to hide their fear and that tone sometimes causes us not to take the situation seriously. We were all guilty of this, and he felt the worst for it. He vowed to never take something like this lightly, or for granted again. Then he did what no other teacher or authority figure had done the entire day. He broke down, and cried. He sat on his desk and wept, in front of us, with us. I will never forget his humanization of that day. He is the only teacher I can truly say that taught me something valuable that day, and I will forever hold him in my heart for his openness that hour... but I digress...
That weekend, I was staying with my girlfriend, who lived in another small town adjacent to ours. We were currently fighting and I was at a friend's house when my mom called to remind me of the viewing for Cindy. I had almost forgotten about this, and was worried, because I did not want to go alone, and when I called my girlfriend, and told her about the viewing, she didnt even flinch. "Well you better take off then, you might be late!" I had enough at that point and her abandonment at this time of need was enough for me to say "OK, I am taking off and I wont be back, we are done." I hung up as her prostestations started...
My best friend looked at me, as my head was hung low, still in disbelief that she could be so cold at this time. He put his hand on my shoulder, and said he would go with me to the funeral home.
We got in my 67 Ford pickup and drove back to town. The main room of the funeral home was filled with kids cries, that could be heard above the preacher, who was using this time of grief and vulnerability to try and rope in some new "followers". I was not going in there, fuck that room, and fuck him for peddling his bullshit instead of counseling
A small room to the left held two coffins, both open for the viewing of Cindy and her mom. I entered the room through one of the two doors, designed to facilitate the entering through one door, and the exiting out another. The first casket was Cindys. I remember thinking how it didnt even look like her. All plastic and makeup and discolored, didnt seem real. After about a minute or two, I heard something behind me at the entrance door to the viewing room, a sound so completely out of place, that I refused to look back and see what it was. There was a shuffling noise, and chains rattling. Like someone was about to hook up the caskets to the hitch of a truck, and re-park them somewhere else. Obviously someone else had entered the room and I could feel the sudden crowdedness, which made me scoot to the right, almost subconciously, toward Cindys mom, allowing room for whoever else, had come in to see Cindy.