Mina looked out into a sea of distant relatives, the semi-familiar faces tear streaked and sorrowful. So much expectation was staring back at her. It reminded her of the tiny clubs she got her start in so many years ago and those same feelings of dread washed over her. The stages she performs on now face out into almost complete darkness. The bright spotlights allow for vague silhouettes of people-shaped lumps, but not much else. She just concentrates on what gets the most laughs, what works and what doesn't. The intimacy of how close they all felt made her shift uncomfortably from foot to foot. Her feet ached in the shoes that her mother had so subtly suggested she wear not more than an hour ago.
"Are you going to wear those shoes?" Her mother asked as she pretended to search for something in her purse.
They were standing in the foyer waiting for the car to arrive. Mina looked down at her black and white polka dot platforms sandals and smirked.
"Of course not, mom, these are just my practice funeral shoes."
Her mother looked up at her with the usual mix of confusion and disapproval that had made Mina into the successful comedienne that she was. Mina and her father had seen that face more times than they could count. They would torture her mother in restaurants, stores, at family events; anywhere they could perform and get laughs. Mina and her dad's comedy team ever constant in the battle against the rigidness of Mina's mother. Her dad would often pay dearly for their silliness on the ride home, but through her mother's scolding he could always catch Mina in the rear view mirror and give her a quick wink.
"What shoes would you like me to wear, mom?"
"I don't care what shoes you wear - I just don't know if polka dots are really appropriate for today."
"Well, these are the only shoes that I packed."
"I have plenty of shoes."
"We don't wear the same size, mom. Your shoes are too small."
"I have all kinds of sizes in the closet upstairs." Her mother answered triumphantly.
"Why do you have multiple sized shoes, mother? Do you murder drifters that you board and keep their shoes?! Mom, are you a serial killer?!" Mina asked with mock horror splashed all over her face.
Her mom looked up at Mina as a single tear fell down her cheek. Mina regretted it but said nothing and walked upstairs. She found some semi-attractive black pumps in the closet that were at least a size too small and killed her feet.
Mina realized that she had being standing in front of her relatives not saying a word for several minutes. The sorrowful faces were now peppered with confusion. She heard her great aunt something-or-other whisper to her great uncle "is this part of her act?" Mina couldn't find the words to say. She felt absurd, like she might explode with tears and laughter. She didn't trust her voice would come if she tried to speak. She took a deep breath and kicked off the shoes that were now crushing her toes. She glanced at the picture of her father that hung above the casket. Tears welled up in her eyes. That tiny flash of hilarity in his serious gaze betrayed who he really was. Suddenly, she remembered the first joke her father had ever told her. With tears streaming down her face she was suddenly calm. She cleared her throat and said "so these two guys walk into a bar