He next saw her in a churchyard. Rain began falling as the coffin was being carried out. She offered him the last corner of an umbrella that was already struggling to keep three guests dry.

‘Grace,’ she said, extending a black-gloved hand.

‘Duncan. We met at the picnic at Ellery Park.’

‘Oh, yes. I remember. You spilt your drink on Monty.’

‘Tipped it, to be accurate.’

‘Yes.’

‘It was the last time I saw him.’

‘Likewise. I’ll never forget his face. It’s probably the picture I’ll always have of him now.’ She laughed, ever so slightly so as not to be disrespectful.

Duncan realised she was still holding his hand. The others under their umbrella cast disapproving glances.

Her eyes met his from beneath a neat black brim. Grace squeezed his palm a little. She leant closer and whispered, ‘He deserved it. He was being a pain that day.’

The priest coughed loudly.

‘You’re getting soaked,’ she said, pulling him close in beside her before turning her solemn eyes to the ceremony.

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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