By LC Lin
As the chilling winter wind blew away the artificial flowers of the sympathy standing wreaths, my eyes were glued to the moving conveying belt. I was waiting to complete my mission here because none of my siblings could stand it.
Abruptly, it stopped. One of the two workers at the crematorium spat on the cement ground, yelling angrily at the other worker, “Ben, you push it!” Ben, pushing the coffin into the mechanized door, grunted, “Luke, next time, your turn.” The tiny wooden box, with Amy inside, was engulfed in flame. “Luke stood beside the belt, rubbing his hands, and said to me with a smile, ”Cold.”
Ben, standing next to him, said, “It’s warm there, a young girl,” grinning and pointing to the furnace.
Luke shot him a look. “Shut up.” Then, the fire stopped, but neither of them moved.
“Don’t you want to open the furnace door?” I asked, irritably.
“You see. We wait for the bones to be cooled and then ground into a kind of sand.” Luke, gesturing with his hands, explained it in a matter-of-fact way.
“Then, the bell rings.” Ben interrupted, nodding his head, and gazed at me.
“How long does it to take to complete this whole thing?” I asked.
“Probably three hours,” Luke said.
“Three hours?” I exclaimed. Although I had to see Amy’s ashes with my own eyes, I didn’t expect this to take that long.
“Is she a movie star?” Luke asked, turning his back and looking at the portrait of Amy beside the door.
“No,” I protested and my voice rose.
“Your sister?” Ben asked, glancing first at the portrait and then me.
“Yes,” I replied, feeling a burst of annoyance. Maybe I should just walk out of this place and join my other siblings to wait in the car. Then, I didn’t have to face that familiar look. The look reminded me of how gorgeous Amy was.
“But, don’t be sad. Your sister can see you in heaven,” Luke said, his eyes flicking at me first and then up to the ceiling with a mysterious look. I just stared at the furnace, and then glanced repeatedly at my watch.
Finally, the bell rang. Slowly, the conveying belt was moving a pile of sand-like ashes. I used a small brush to sweep Amy’s ashes into a white cremation urn. Suddenly, something sparkling red caught my eye. Picking up the tiny glistering pieces, I shuddered. They were amber eye-shaped earrings I had stolen from dying Amy on her hospital bed.