As though the world spun in slow motion, I stood up and walked toward the podium at the front of the room. My footsteps thundered and vibrated through every cell in my body, louder and louder until I stood in front of an entire world of strangers brandishing their crocodile tears in a moment they’d willingly forget in the morning. I’d written something down the night before, but it felt too proper, too mechanical. As my heart raced, I realized it was crying out to be heard, so I shoved my notes back in my pocket and let my true feelings flow.
“It was two-thirty in the morning when I found out you were taken from me. No, not taken,” I paused for a moment to collect myself. “Ripped,” I yelled. “You were ripped from me too soon, and I will never accept it. No, I will never believe it. The choice was made for you. The choice was made for me. The choice was made for our family. And here we are, mourning the death of the last gentleman and the last lady in an age where those words are a monument in a fading dictionary.”
The first time I spoke in front of a large audience, I remember seeing nothing but black space in front of my eyes, but this time felt different. I looked out and saw each and every face staring back at me, judging me for my anger, hating me for not saying what they expected me to. I’m done doing the expected thing, I thought, and the mixed emotions etched on their faces floated away.
“It is this way because my father, Simon Cohen, taught me to use and understand words as a way to change the world and my place within it. It is, for that reason, that their deaths are being celebrated today. While I can't say this has been the best week of my life, I am a much more worthy person because of the influence of Simon and Jez Cohen. So, even though I am sad, I celebrate the merits of their lives and their deaths. It is the place where we come to understand ourselves in a world they no longer walk upon.”
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