-- by Denise
The taxi pulled up sharply to the wrought iron gate, and a woman popped out of the back seat as she called over her shoulder, “Please wait for me, Sam. I’ll be not even 15 minutes.”
As she was one of his best customers, he agreed, but not happily. He wished she had picked out just about any other destination besides the small church cemetery at the outskirts of town, especially since it was 11:35 at night.
Clutching the bouquet of yellow
roses, she pushed the gate aside and strode purposely into the small country
burial ground. She checked the luminescent dial on her
wristwatch - fortunately she was on time. She was a stickler for remembering important anniversaries, and the fifteenth anniversary of her husband’s death was one she wanted to mark.
Luckily the waning moon offered
enough light to illuminate her way, but she still took a small flashlight from
her purse as extra insurance against a fall. If only it hadn’t been for that
delay at the publishers, then having to take a later plane which was delayed
for almost two hours on the tarmac due to rain at LaGuardia Airport. She had originally
planned to be home no later than noon, and was going to take a leisurely ride
to the cemetery with flowers and gardening tools in
her bicycle’s front basket to spruce up her
husband’s grave. Though volunteers took good care of the burial grounds, she still wanted to put her own special touch on his grave, to make it look nice.
With her increased fame since the
publication of her first book just over fourteen years prior, an exercise she
had only taken up to get her mind from the pain of her then fresh loss, she
regrettably found less and less time for these memorial visits. She knew that
Frank would have been her biggest fan in her endeavors since his death (the
writing, not the way she managed to find herself at the center of so many murder
investigations), but she was mad at herself for not taking the time in her life
to attend to visiting his gravesite. With the passing years, her visits had slackened
to once every few months. Of course, it had been made more difficult since she
had taken the apartment in
Having seen so much death, the walk through the cemetery did
not spook her out too much, but she still walked quickly to her destination.
She didn’t want to take advantage of Sam’s kindness in waiting for her, not to
mention the fact that she had another busy day tomorrow, preparing for yet
another publicity tour on her latest book. Finally, she arrived at the small
marble headstone, and knelt down beside it, heedless of the chance she would
get grass stains on her coat.
“Oh, Frank,” she murmured, “I
almost missed this one. But I did make it, by
the skin of my teeth.”
She arranged the bouquet in a
little vase off to the side of the headstone,
then took a couple of tissues and wiped the dew from the gray marble. Ordinarily, she would have taken more care to clean out the carvings in the stone, but she couldn’t see well enough in the dusk to ascertain if there was dirt in the crevices. It’ll have to do - I need to make the time to get here the next time I get a few days at home, she planned, then sighed heavily when she realized she had no idea when that would be - not in the
foreseeable future, that was for sure.
As she reached up to brush her hair
back from her face, she was surprised when her hand came away moist. Touching
her cheek carefully, she felt that tears had fallen from her eyes and she hadn’t
even realized it. She swiped them aside with the back of her hand as she stood
up. She surveyed the grave briefly, bent to pick up a couple of leaves that had
escaped her notice before and absentmindedly put them in her pocket as she
whispered in a voice that she hoped he would hear up in heaven, “Sorry, Frank,
stay any longer, Sam was nice enough to wait for me as it is. I miss you so much, my darling, and I love you. Remember how we used to say ‘I love you forever’? Well, it’s true, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I love you forever.” A small, trying-to-be-brave sort of smile tugged at her lips as she turned and made her way back to the waiting taxi.