The day dawns, overcast , cold and grim, storm clouds banked overhead, rain threatening.  The body is laid in a simple, unadorned, pinewood coffin, covered with home made posies from relatives and friends.

The time it takes, unendurable as the Priest rambles incessantly, as the funeral moves on to the final resting ground, the local cemetery.  Maggie once again takes the reins, finds a song from long ago, a soulful tender ballad of love and death and the beating of wings….the final transformation.

And then it is over. Nothing more for them to do. No wake.

He drives her home, won’t stay, and at her door, pulls her to him, kisses mouth, nose, her hair.

Turns, turns again and calls “I’ll see you in a few days “, then turns again, retracing his steps, holds her hard against his chest. “I am a selfish bloody fool”, he says, “I forgot to even thank you”.

“And I was so very happy to do this for you….go now, I’ll see you very soon”, she turns his shoulders, watches him close the gate, reach his car, wave, and then his pirate’s smile, that flash of teeth. He slips into the car, drives away, and she stands for those last few moments, gathering herself, seeing the empty space, then walks inside, closes her door, still feeling him holding her hard , the strength of fingers clutching her arms and the bitter sweet taste of him, lingers on her lips.

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