There she lies. I stand next to the coffin at the graveyard nearly ready to be lowered to its eternal resting place, with the rain pouring down my suit. It’s going to be ruined after this but that’s okay, it was a cheap suit anyway. I didn’t bring an umbrella just so no one would see. I’ve told everyone who asked I didn’t think to bring one. The minister is doing his thing, but I don’t hear a word of it.

So. There she lies. 20 years of marriage and in the end she’s the one to go first. 20 years of sitting across from her in the breakfast table. 20 years of cooking dinners, sharing joys and sorrows. No kids thankfully. Don’t know if I’d have the strength to comfort anyone else right now.

My old man always said “You never ever hit a woman.” I never did. Maybe I should have. Maybe I wouldn’t have been the one in the ER getting 13 stitches. Maybe then I wouldn’t have been the one inventing stories about racquetball matches gotten out of hand. You can’t hit your woman. She’s the one you ought to protect. No one ever says who’s supposed to protect you?

As the first thuds of muddy earth hit the lid of her coffin I imagine her hitting the coffin lid in desperation, trying to get out. Never again will those fists beat me. Never again will her feet kick me. Never again will her lips curse me.

I keep standing still long after most of the guests have gone on back to their homes to pity me, how I’ve suffered such a huge loss. I risk a small smile at the thought. I can’t believe they didn’t notice the drugs. I guess the coroner was too busy and what with her previous history of heart problems, it must’ve been too close to tell and with me playing the part of the dutiful grieving husband, they didn’t even suspect anything. 20 years of acting the part of a good husband to a good wife, it wasn’t even much of an effort.

Thank God for the rain. No one will see I’m not crying.

Time to breathe.