Goodbye (October 2019, Week 3, Day 3)

“It’s time to go”


“Neri, please.”


Paul looked around, hoping someone else would appear who could reason with his wife. There was no one within sight, and he knew they wouldn’t have had any more success. This wasn’t something anyone should have practice in, or have “tricks” for at the ready.

“Neri, we have to leave.”


“I promise to bring you back in the morning. We’ll come back, first thing. They open the gates at 6 am.”

Neri looked at Paul with eyes full of anger. He waited, refusing to shrivel under her gaze. The two of them stayed locked in silence as the wind picked up around them. Paul shifted into a crouch and stretched out his gloved hand, offering it to Neri. It wasn’t until the predicted raindrops started to fall around them that Neri accepted his offer and placed her naked hand in his.

“Thank you. I promise – we’ll come back as early tomorrow as you want as long as it’s after they open the gates.”

As they walked down the winding path to the car, Paul fished in his mind for the details of the last conversation he’d had with Neri where she’d said something more than “no.” If he’d known it to be an important one he would have paid more attention. They had been sitting at their kitchen table. He could, oddly enough, remember what was on their plates better than he could recall the content of their conversation. She’d had the garish orange plate that she loved and he hated, and it was piled high with hummus and vegetables. His plate had been one of their everyday china pieces from their public wedding, and he’d had an array of cheeses, meats, and fruits. The food didn’t matter, and Paul had tried time and again to push it out of the foreground to get at the conversation they’d been having. 

He tripped to a halt when Neri stopped. “What?”

She didn’t answer, but this time she didn’t need to. They had found their way back to the car while he’d been thinking about dishes and food. 

“Right. Sorry.” Paul unlocked the door and went around to the driver’s side. Neri yanked the door open, threw herself into the car, and slammed the door behind her. With sagging shoulders Paul followed her lead, silently sliding into the driver’s seat without looking back up the path they’d just followed.

Driving out of the cemetery after dark required his high-beams and all of his attention. Paul didn’t bother putting music on and kept his hands at ten and two. She’d used to be the one who drove whenever they were together. He snuck a glance at her once they got to the driveway. Her anger filled the car and, likely, the entire cemetery. That little glimmer that allowed her to take his hand was gone.

Paul missed her. He missed their conversations and how deep they often got. He missed having her reach out to touch him voluntarily. He missed her smile.

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