Tears streamed down his face. The wind chilled their salty trail, making his skin freeze beneath the hood of his thick coat. The rain had stopped—at least momentarily—for the lowering of the casket. The air thickened with the aroma of sodden grass and mud. He was the only one here, and that’s the way he wanted it—no one would have understood the burial in his own backyard.
A sliver of sunlight pierced the gloom of clouds just as he lowered the tiny casket. A thud sounded as it hit the bottom of the small hole—already filled with enough water to make the homemade pine casket float slightly. Another wave of tears soaked his skin. He pulled them off his lips with a dry tongue, savouring the taste of pain and heartache. He lowered the hood of his coat, whispering a prayer to the sun and clouds to keep watch over the grave, and picked up the shovel leaning against the crumbling brick wall of his garage.
A thump as dirt collided with the casket. Another and another, until the hole was filled and his heart shattered. He threw the tainted shovel aside, vowing to never touch the smooth wooden handle again. Kneeling on the mound of fresh dirt, he bowed his head and allowed a final stream of tears to soak the earth, praying they would reach the bottom of the grave.
He wiped his face, leaving a thin trail of dirt across his cheek, and went inside. His wife—wide-eyed and dazed—offered an ice-cold beer, straight from the fridge. A spray of fizz and it was opened instantly, meeting his salty lips before he could plop down on the couch. His wife sat on the arm of the leather couch, searching for kind words—but she found none. All that swam around in her mind were jokes and taunting remarks. Surely there was something comforting she could say?
“Tomorrow,” she whispered, “we’ll get out and take your mind off it. A nice breakfast, perhaps? And then I’ll take you to the good sport store, the one near the soccer fields?”
“It’s not open on weekends,” he mumbled, wiping his nose like a child. His wife stood, unable to conjure any more kindness. “Fine,” she groaned, “you’ll just have to go yourself on your next day off to get a new cricket bat. And the fact that you’re old one just had a nicer burial than our cat is beyond me!” She marched into the kitchen and opened a beer for herself before disappearing upstairs—if she had to watch another cricket match on television, she was going to put her fist through the wall.
**Picture from Pinterest