A suitably dreary day in Washington D.C. The clouds are gray and low-hanging, and threaten either snow or rain. The Sun refuses to come out to shine on anyone, today - just or unjust.
The coffin leaves the White House, draped in a flag. Proud but solemn members of the Armed Forces carry it to a waiting carriage, its horses chafing against the cold. It seems as though they wish they didn't have to be here, either.
So do so many others.
The First Lady stands by the door with her children, watching her husband leave her for the last time. Member of their shared family stand by, giving her some measure of comfort and strength. They silently minister to her in her time of need, and she is visibly buoyed by their presence.
But her eyes say all that needs to be said, here: her companion is gone -- that constant star vanished from her sky, and with it the love, light, and warmth it provided so well for so long.
All gone, now, save for memories that will become more precious, but less reliable, as the days go by.
The procession leaves the White House, crisply parading past a forest of flags. Drummers march ahead of a column of horses, taking the Commander and Chief to the Capitol for one last, somber visit. At its rear, a solitary marine proudly escorts a riderless horse -- the beast strangely docile in spite of the noise and clamor of the ceremony.
The mourners crowd the streets, watching the carriage go past. Their faces tell their stories: shocked at the violence of his death; saddened that it came down to this; fearful for what comes next. But on all their faces is open mourning for a man that, whether they loved him, tolerated him, or didn't know what to think, his loss is like that of a favorite relative, integral to the family.
Everyone here knew him, even if they'd never met, and loved him, even if they had no right to.
Others may have other, less charitable opinions, but they are not here, today. They lurk in their dark holes of hate and sarcasm, posting mealy-mouthed eulogies -- or unapologetic smears -- on websites that, just a few days earlier, were full of the sort of sentiment that some say predicated this horrid event. No doubt, once it's no longer "too soon," the hate will return; for now, however, it's mostly on hold.
The carriage arrives at the Capitol. Behind it are a cavalcade of black limousines, transporting the family and closest companions. When all are assembled, and all is in readiness, a quixotically upbeat playing of "Hail to the Chief" heralds the coffin's removal from its carriage, and journey up the steps, to the awaiting rotunda.
There, on a bier no one ever wants to see occupied, the coffin is placed. The newly sworn-in President solemnly places a large wreath before it, visibly shaken and unwell, but doing his best to appear to be what the American people need, right now. Not the profane, backroom fighter who was a surprise, seemingly-risible choice for Vice President of four years ago, but a leader in dark and troubled times.
In the harsh glare of the world's media, he stumbles and says something. Scholars in years to come will debate as to whether it was a quiet farewell or a curse, but thankfully no one comments, at the time. They're too busy looking at the First Lady, and her family, as her and the children approach the coffin, and, with a hand upon it, try and say goodbye.
She is but the first of thousands. They march, in turn, in and out of the Capitol, respectfully filing past the coffin that contains a person who formed a central part of their lives for so long. The first Black President. The first President from Hawaii. A Democrat. A Centrist. A Christian. A father. A husband.
All these judgments, titles, and modifiers seem to mean so little on their own, but in aggregate create a man who, even if not always agreed with, could be counted on to be a leader of a people.
The father, son, and brother to an entire nation.
In a day's time, another march will occur -- one stretching from the Capitol to a nearby Church the First Family had cause to attend, from time to time. The First Lady will march scores of politicians, Supers, and foreign dignitaries there, and then, following the service, see to his internment at Arlington. The nation will hold its breath and weep -- some openly, some silently, some not at all -- and the world will spare a kindly thought for this man, now departed.
But in the night, as the rotunda is closed, and the casket guarded by an unblinking quartet of soldier, sailor, aviator, and Marine, there will be one more, unseen mourner. One that showed his face in public, earlier, when it was right and proper to, but now needs to be here in quiet -- unseen and unexplained.
He will stand there, invisible, for an entire hour. He will do so in silence, not daring say a word. He might be crying, too, but whether those are tears of loss or frustration will have to remain unknown but to god, for a time.
And when he feels as though he has paid his last respects to a man he has so utterly failed, he will leave as quietly as he came. He will get into a waiting vehicle and rocket away.
And Mr. USA will swear, both to the God he worships and the nation that he serves, that he will see justice done, even if he must start and end with himself.
(SPYGOD is listening to Saved by Zero (The FIXX) and drowning in the sea)