Devron lifts Tomone's walker out of the trunk and sets it before his brother in the passenger seat. This will be his public debut on leg braces — mostly he only practices at rehab and at home. The family walks slowly as Tomone, bent sharply at the waist, pushes out the walker and follows with labored steps. Push, step, step. By the time he crosses the street, he's huffing for air.

Inside the church, folks in the back pew make way so Tomone can sit down, and Lela and Devron lean up against the side wall at the standing-room-only service. Today, Lela has come looking like her old self — wearing a smart black suit and skirt set, rhinestones gleaming from her toes in her animal-print heels. A pastor asks emphatically: "When's the violence going to stop?" He belts out "I Won't Complain" to bluesy organ fills, yelling "Thank you for that beautiful baby that you had! Thank you, Lord!" with the full force of his baritone voice. Tears run down Lela and Devron's faces. Devron skips the line forming to pass by the casket and heads straight down to the altar to be the first to peer in.

B-Low lay under Plexiglas. Devron was feeling guilty that he'd been out in Antioch when it happened; maybe he could have talked B-Low into fighting off the death, just like B-Low had for Devron.

I'm right here, man. You see me at your funeral? Devron thought, making good on B-Low's request. The last conversation still haunted him. Why you had to say that to me?

Despite Bogart's assertion that the funeral bit was something he always said, to Devron, it was too great of a coincidence. Did B-Low really predict he was going to get killed? Maybe if Devron had died, B-Low would have left the neighborhood. If, if ... he didn't want to think about it too much. "Why stress yourself out over that?"

Devron thought about how he told B-Low he'd avenge his death, and the anger welled up again upon seeing him in the casket. But, in the end, Devron dropped it. That's just not the man Lela Jones raised. "Revenge," Devron says, "all that gonna do is to cause it to come back on you. ... They gonna have to pay on Judgment Day. Not me."

After a long while, Devron turns away from the coffin and embraces the white-tux-clad pallbearers in the front row. Lela carries Tomone's walker over to him on her way to get in line, but he shakes his head no. For Lela, the fact her family is away from the neighborhood's recent spate of shootings and homicides is yet another affirmation that she made the right choice.

"It's not getting better. It's getting worse," she says. "I'm so glad my kids are away from there. I'm so happy, I don't know what to do."

The family is going to skip the burial out in Colma today. Tomone's got a $1,000 charity shopping spree to cash in that his doctor submitted his name for, and they're headed to the mall. So after the funeral, Devron and Bogart lift Tomone by the armpits from the curb to Lela's car, then slide in the back seat. The four of them, like it always was. Lela accelerates out into traffic, passes the waiting hearse, and drives out of San Francisco.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...