[ surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and i shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever ]
The funeral passes in a muted blur, a Monet of hushed condolences and sniffling.
Her thumb traces Bill's knuckles in a steady back-and-forth during the service, and she can't stop snapshots of eulogies of past funerals (her mom; ralph burton; agent don richards; agent george mason)
from sliding between the pastor's words.
(And it could so easily be Bill in that casket, wearing the uniform he's in right now.)
She folds her hand in his when they stand.
It's a short drive to the cemetery, and she hugs her white wool dress coat closer to her body, thankful for its length and for her matching leather gloves. She doesn't flinch through the 21-gun salute, and when it's over, her ears are stinging with sound and cold.
Once the crowd begins to disperse, she hangs back and waits for Bill, not wanting to intrude while he speaks with Mrs. Hargrove. Kate stands a short distance away, trying to smile at the two-year-old with wide, curious green eyes and pink-mittened hands tugging at the hem of her coat.
(Her name is Savannah, and she'll never know her father.)
Kate crouches and they make tiny snowmen from the dusting on the grass.
Her throat is tight while she watches the little girl rejoin her mother and Bill steps closer, his cheeks red and eyes on the frozen ground. She reaches for his hand, grateful for the squeeze he gives her fingers as they walk to the truck.
- - - - -
They don't talk on the way back to Wheelsy, and that's okay.
Once they're in the house and Bill has closed the door behind them, she turns and wraps her arms around his waist.