“Good bye old man.”
Hand still on the headstone; Delilah lifts her face to the light rain that has fallen intermittently all day. She has as umbrella, but does not want to use it. Well aware she will likely pay for this by catching one heck of a cold as she is slowly soaked, she does not care right now. It feels oddly soothing. The cool rain mixing in with the hot tears that continue to run down her face try as she might to stop its flow. They all knew the old man was in his final days, still knowing Death is coming does very little to lessen the blow of the final strike of his scythe once he arrives.
It is fitting, she thinks. It is fitting that it has rained most of this day; it matches her mood as she opens the car door, when they pull up to the cemetery. Taking her hand as she exits the vehicle, her husband Henri gives her a reassuring hug. A gentle reminder of his presence though he is otherwise silent, leaving her to her thoughts. She knows he understands, she needs this visit to the old man’s grave.
The rain damped lawn yields gently as they walk back over the grass to the waiting car. A bittersweet smile crosses her face as she remembers how the old man walked her down the aisle on her wedding day. Showing signs of his advancing age, he was just starting to become unpredictable in his behavior. She had let family convince her that it was perhaps better if she walked down the grassy aisle on her own. But in the end how could she deny him this? She was happy she stuck to her guns, having faith in him knowing how important this was to her. That he would do his very best. And he was what he had always been, regal, charming and such the perfect gentleman.
The same gentleman he was when Henri, in front of the entire family, showed him the engagement ring and asked his permission to marry Delilah. The old man gave a good-natured protective growl, but then his playful bark of approval, soon followed. Even her own father laughed hard at that, as Henri then inquired the same of him, fully knowing Henri had asked permission in the correct order. Eventually, he got around to actually asking Delilah herself to the delight of everyone.
The old man was sitting by her side as always the day she met Henri at the outdoor café. New to the city, he was lost. He placed a map in front of Delilah asking directions, without really looking at her nor the old man. She smiled removing her shades as she pointed to the then not so old man and teased that Henri was better off showing the map to him. Only then did Henri notice the harness, realized Delilah was blind and began to apologize profusely at his “oversight”. Delilah laughed at his use of oversight and introduced Henri to Oberon, her fourteen year old, canine service companion. Delilah smiled as she heard Henri squat down and give the dog a friendly scratch behind the ear.
“Well hello there, old man.”
Weekly Writing Challenge: Writing Backward