The pews were filled, and it was quiet. All eyes were drawn to the front of the aisle where the casket was placed. The mass of people held their breath and sat as silently as they could, not wanting to break this mournful silence.
The priest looked towards the first row of seated mourners. He nodded to the five men who sat with teary eyes. They immediately stood up, the brothers hands still clapsed together, and made their way towards the corner of the room.
"Are you ready?" Mikey mumbled softly as he wrapped his hands around hi bass and pulled the strap over his head.
Gerard nodded as Frank and Ray gave him a gentle squeeze on his shoulder before reaching for their respective guitars. Bob, who normally wasn't an emotional person, shocked them all when he pulled each of the brothers into a tight hug and hastily tried to blink away his tears.
"Thank you," Gerard murmured as Bob pulled away and smiled at them gently.
They all nodded to each other and as a group, as a whole, they turned and walked to the front of the church, Bob already having pushed his drum set off to the side of the casket. Slowly they seperated from each others sides and wandered to their respective areas, the mass staring towards them with eyes that glinted with a pink hue.
Gerard reached the staircase that let to the podium and hesitated for a moment, just a moment as he stared up towards it and the candles that flickered softly, before stepping up them. He reached the top and awkwardly took a shaky breath. It reverberated through the large walls and flipped against the windows. Slowly, he raised his gaze from the podium and stared at the crowd that watched him intently.
He could feel the anxiety building in his chest as he glanced towards the open casket and his breath caught. Quickly he closed his eyes and let the words that he had been forming ever since he first heard of Elena's fate flicker through his head. Then he heard the opening notes rise into the air around him and his eyes snapped open.
He opened his mouth, and he sang.
The words echoed throughout the church in a haunting tone, his voice wafting gently through the draft. The notes that seemed to dance in a chilling beat surrounded the gathered mass and covered them in a blanket of sorrow, anger, and hope.
All the pain of losing Elena poured from him and filled the building until it seemed almost impossible to escape. He could feel the music wrap around his heart and take hold, almost healing him while he sang the words that kept echoing in his head.
He could almost feel his Grandmother beside him. In that moment it felt like he was back in the living room with her, sitting beside her on the piano bench while he fingers danced across the keys and he let his heart pout into the song.
The very essence of each member poured from the instruments and mixed with the band. They had never played this way before, never put everything they had on the line as they were now. Yet, it didn't matter.
It didn't matter that everything, every single emotion, every ounce of pain, every ounce of anger, agony, and bliss that they had clutched to so desperately over the past few days was suddenly released. They played with every single part of their being. Every miniscule part of them was twirling in the air with the notes that poured so beautifully from their instruments.
As the song slowed to a gentle hum Gerard bowed his head and placed the palms of his hands together, almost praying the words that he sang. The array of people in the aisles followed his lead and lowered their heads as well, placing their hands together in silent prayer.
Just as he began singing the verse he could feel someone, someone very important to him. His eyes snapped open and he struggled to keep his voice from trembling, but to no avail.
There standing beside the aisle, was his Grandmother Elena.
She was there, looking like she had stepped out from one of the many videos that she had shown him. Her skin, pale and flawless. A black dress cacading gently to her calves. A red sash tied tightly around her waist, and an almost scarlet petticoat shimmering beneath. Her feet were laced with black sashes that connected with her ballet flats.
Elena stood, staring back at him, holding a bouquet of red roses that gave off an almost overpowering scent that reached beside the podium. The scent was that of comfort, and warmth, of shelter. It smelt of home.
He gazed at her with eyes that filled with tears and sang the words directly to her. As he watched her she turned and began to dance. She twisted gently, as if she were weightless and an expression of peace crossed her face. Her hands released the bouquet that immediately disappeared, as if it were just made of air and lost its solidity when she let it go.
She twirled so carefully between the rows of seat, yet, she made it look so simple. Her dress flared gently around her as she leaned towards one of the women sitting on the edge. An almost painful emotion crossed her face as she reached for her, but her hand stopped just inches away, as in an invisible barrier were holding her back.
Frantically Gerard looked towards his brother who was staring back at him with wide eyes. Mikey could see her too. They both turned back to look towards the end of the aisle where she was slowly letting her spins stop.
Elena turned her gaze to the brothers and nodded gently. Her eyes filled with tears and they saw the same love flicker through her eyes as she raised her arms in a final goodbye. Then she faded. Her body becoming more and more transparent until there was nothing left to show that Elena had just performed her final dance.
Mikey stared at the spot where she disappeared, wishing that she would come back. Wishing that this wasn't her goodbye, but he could still feel her, her presence that lingered in the church. As he strummed the bass, pouring all of his heart into the notes, a soft smile crossed his lips and tears fell from his eyes, falling in soft trails.
Gerard snapped his eyes shut, trying to keep Elena's image in his eyes. Yet, as he sang, he could still feel that she was there with him. She was there pushing him to finish the song. To finish the song for his band, for his family, for his brother, and for her.
So he sang.
He sang for all the tears that he and his brother had shed, for all the pain that had filled their minds everytime their thoughts strayed, for all the memories that flashed through their heads, and he sang for his Grandmother.
He sang for Elena who he wouldn't see again.