Her flowers blended with the fallen leaves that clothed the field. It seemed like they had only touched the slab a moment ago, but she could barely see the yellow petals which stuck out so elegantly from the stalks she’d cut. The autumn nakedness put her solemn offering to shame, making this place of sorrow somewhat beautiful. She clutched at her stomach through the thin black dress, the only one of the shade she owned. It was almost inappropriate how light and frilly it was, brimming with life, while everything around her uttered words of death. There was no one else in sight, a fact that somehow put her at ease. She was not accustomed to the conventions of mourning.
Taking a hesitant breath, she shook her feet free of the shrubbery that had layered it. She grasped the sides of her party frock firmly as she lowered herself unto the concrete. This was the only way she could do it. She bit her lips as she thought of what to do next. She supposed that tears were in order, but she could not summon them. Pinching her sensitive eyelids had always worked when she was a child, but that continued deception had strengthened them now. Crying itself would be the greatest deception. She ran her finger softly over the raised grey surface, feeling the dents in the name she’d always said so quickly. Now she had to stop and remind herself of how the words sounded. She moved her lips softly, mouthing the sounds that made up this person she’d once loved. They felt foreign against her rosy cheeks.
In the filled desolation of that place, her mind began to wander. To times and things that they’d shared. She smiled as she remembered something that had once made her laugh. Slowly, her face hardened as she struggled to pick out the punch line. What was it? Ah, it was gone. The memories had already begun to fade. Some day, she’d forget that she had laughed at all. A soft wind blew at the hem of her dress, bringing her back to this place. It was so quiet here, a silence that lured her to speak, to fill the air with worthy things. But nothing came. Sitting there at a loss, she turned to the back of the field and stared hard at the grey van parked in the distance. He was awake now, and was looking at her in expectation. It made her smile.
She returned her glance to where she sat, and focussed hard again to find words to fill the space, but nothing came. In her determination, she reached softly for her left ear, struggling to take off the stud that decorated it. Grasping it tightly, the metal point protruding, she leaned forward to touch the face of the slab, and frowned deeply as she crafted her message. The grating sound annoyed her, and she had to work hard for it to show. As she stared at the finished word, her heart eased. Standing up and dusting her dress, she beheld it one last time. Her flowers were now buried under the conviction of autumn, the season when many things would be shed. As she turned to meet the one who was waiting, her dress flowing inordinately, she realised that sometimes, bye was enough.