In the middle of everything

S:ta Clara is as central a church can get, almost on top of T-Centralen. It is one of the places where the ragged people go, and there is a distinctive smell of pee about the churchyard. A church volunteer is handing out bread to bag people in varying degrees of intoxication. Next to them a different crowd, relatives of Honeybuns’, but from a branch I haven’t met before.

Suddenly a great commotion, cheers and whistles. A wedding party erupts from the church doors. The newlyweds are traditionally dressed, but their piercings and tattoos hint that this may not be their usual garb and this is underscored by their friends in leather coats, mohawks and brightly dyed dreadlocks.

We have to wait a while as their flowers are carried out of the church and ours are brought in. Finally we troop in and seat ourselves, relatives on the right, friends on left, dead centre the coffin. I try to form a picture of Honeybuns’ step-sister, whom I’ve never met, from the vicar’s eulogy. As she was torn from the midst of life, the people who did know her form a crowd even in the spatious church. Friends sing and recite poetry. Many weep.

After the service we walk to a restaurant in the Old Town for dinner. I am first a bit taken aback by the blaring disco music, but eventually learn that it is a careful selection of the most favourite pieces of the deceased. A sad gay friend makes a speech, reminiscing over her joyful life and proclaims: ‘Tonight there will be a PARTY IN HEAVEN!” and that is as good an epitaph as any.