Empty. That was all she felt. Like some piece of her very being was missing, something far bigger than the six-foot by three-foot hole at the bottom of which this piece would remain for the rest of eternity. It was not real, not to her, not, at least, until the first shovelful of cold clay rattled upon the wooden lid of the coffin.
No! she wanted to protest. I’m not ready! But when she opened her mouth, no sound came out. She had suddenly realized what she had already acknowledged at an intellectual level: that he was never coming back, that she would never again see his face, never again gaze into his soft brown eyes.
She felt a hand on her shoulder—a man’s hand, brown-skinned and weathered, though not aged—and glanced up to see Ravi MacKerlich looking back with concern. His presence was unexpected, to say the least.
“What are you doing here?” she demanded. “I thought you moved to Pompeii!”
“Taipei,” he corrected. “It’s a long story. Listen, Cat, I’m really sorry about Ricky. He was a good man.”
Raindrops pattered heavily upon the cemetery grounds, which were empty of any living creatures but for Cat, Ravi, and the two gravediggers. “That makes two people out of all the world who care.”
“There could be more,” he reminded her. “Word does not easily travel in these dark days.”
“Ricky and I should never have moved out here to this glum little hamlet,” Cat lamented, sniffing and dabbing at her eyes. “We should have stayed in the city.”
Ravi shook his head. “No. Trust me, you shouldn’t have.”