There lay the casket, in the center of a damp room, an elegant horizontal initiate ready to receive first and last offerings. Burnished cherrywood veneer, its interior lined with pale pink, the color of reprieve or fresh heaven. The softly flickering symmetry of candlelight in which the room was lit, bathed the casket in a gauzy lemon aureole.
If you were to enter the room in this warehouse, now, right now, you would see the Red Joans standing in line, each girl waiting her turn to make a deposit into the casket, to bequeath a token to her soul-let.
Hairbrush. Chewed-through pencil. Bottle of lavender nail polish. Cover artwork for a Mazzy Star CD.
Pink tutu. Handcuffs. Dog-eared copy of Plato’s Republic. Tube of lipstick. Vintage French postcard. Scissors. Spatula. Torn purple leggings. Paintbrush. Cordless microphone.
The Red Joans were attending a funeral for their dreams.
The ceremony, which took place one week before the scheduled death-date of a group, was intended to honor and consecrate the fact that its members were giving up their lives and their dreams for a greater cause. They were saying goodbye to who they were, or who they might have grown into.
If you were there, right now, trespassing in the smallest hours, you would see that some of the Joans wept themselves into convulsions, while others cried soundlessly, cheeks scarred in gleaming silver. Others remained neutral and became as glass mirroring stones.
Everyone grieved differently. No one was judged.