He took his place, similarly to the way he always sat at the head of the table. This time however there would be no homemade rolls or jokes about the lumps in the potatoes. Virginia was gone, her spirit far away from the pain her body had suffered at the last, or so he prayed. What remained was tucked—comfortably the mortician said, although he couldn’t quite understand how one could be comfortable in such a tight, dark, enclosed space—in the box in front of him. He had acquiesced to her wishes and once all the mourners left she would be cremated. The children wanted him to keep the ashes but as he explained to them, she further stipulated that what was left should be taken up to the redwood forest and left to fertilize her favorite tree. As the last person filed out of the room, the mortician and assistant came in; he tried not to laugh at them, since the first thought that came to his mind was the line from the “True Grit” movie when the mortician kept saying to Mattie “If you would like to kiss him, it would be all right.”
It had been a year yesterday since he’d gone up to the redwoods with what was left of Virginia and, out of sight of the other hiker,s had lovingly spread her ashes beneath her favorite tree above the trail where they had met. It was quite by accident: he had bent to tie his shoe, she was looking at her trail map which had blocked her view of the path; she did a flip right over his back and landed on hers, looking up at him. Once they had determined that no one had been hurt, they shared a laugh and then continued the path together. They had remained together until the cancer took her. It had been three years since they had walked the path and the inability to hold her hand made him hurt.
Many years ago it had been proven that lightning can strike the same place twice. He had forced himself to walk the redwood trails again and in the same spot where he and Virginia had met but five years later to almost the moment it was he who fell, this time over Helen, who had stopped to tie her shoe. He flipped over her back and landed on his, looking up. They determined that no one had been hurt and continued down the path, laughing so hard that she mistook the tear that fell from his eye when they passed Virginia’s favorite tree for mirth. He assured her that it was.
For this week’s InMon prompt, an offering of 446 words.