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The Widow

November, 2017

The lilies were her favorite part, pale and porcelain against the rich red velvet lining his casket. One brush of her finger would bruise them but she could not seem to help herself. She pinched a delicate petal between her perfectly polished nails and pressed in hard, carving half-moons along its soft skin.

He was far less interesting, with a solid, square jaw and strong brows. The angles of his cheekbones would have pierced glass merely a week ago (oh, how romantic), but now they were stuffed and swollen and tinted far too orange for the funeral home's pitiful lighting. She brushed a couple of fingers through the crunchy clumps of his curls and traced her touch along what skin still showed experimentally.

Too far gone. She'd get no work out of this one…

"Were you close?"

She should have know that the woman in the unfortunate starched lace fascinator would be inching closer by the moment, stretching out for her velvet gown with those thin, twisted fingers. The smeared coral lipstick formed a clumsy 'O' as she struggled for words to fill the silence, to give meaning to what she saw only as an unfortunate tragedy.

"He was just a man," the younger woman told her with a toothy smile that did not reach her eyes. She plucked a lily from between his clasped hands and clipped it into the waves of chestnut brown hair. "Now, he's nothing."

The sound of her heels on the polished floor echoed for hours after she'd gone.

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