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Jasmine. That’s what moonlight smells like to me. I know, cliché, but I’m a sucker for the truth. That or death and decay, depending on where you might be. I’d been in both places. Can you guess my first choice?
She died on Christmas Day 2019. Quiet and unassuming as she’d been in life. I’d like to say I missed her, but I didn’t. I really didn’t know her.
The marriage was one of convenience, a perfect cover, but I’ve come to realize that maybe that wasn’t fair, not to her. Don’t get me wrong. She agreed to the farce, whole-hearted and happily, but I think she had expectation which turned out to be false.
The funeral was the next day, quiet and unassuming as she’d been in life. Was I sorry for the way her life had turned out?
Maybe, but probably not. A man like me doesn’t live long with emotions. I was gone so much, I always thought she’d take a lover, live her life without me, but I’m finding out now that she didn’t. Never. Ever. No lover. No life beyond the false curtain of our lives.
Damn, the woman.
I don’t normally swear. Not in my nature. Not the man I am or want to be. But sitting here by her gravesite, watching the jasmine glowing in the moonlight, I’m not sure any more of what kind of man I actually am.
I quit the day she died. Used grief as my excuse and they believed me. Not for long, but I’ll be gone by then. You see, they didn’t let me go, just…. gave me a vacation.
I sat awhile longer, watching nothing, listening always. What had I missed? Had I ever really known her? Can one suddenly realize their whole life has been a lie without destroying everything in which they had believed?
No regret, but…. maybe there was.
Maybe I wasn’t so truthful as I believed. Maybe I had been the one missing life all along. Maybe she had been the one to teach me if only I’d listened.
I dropped a cluster of Jasmine on her grave and stood, hefting my pack in one hand.
Maybe, but my life had become one of maybes.
My cell vibrated in my pocket.
“Yes?” Softly, barely stirring the air before me.
“Are you still at the grave?”
“When are you going to come?”
“Well, yes. It’s taken you a long time to understand.”
I thought about a show I’d seen years ago. A vampire show. Watched one of those long stretches in some jail somewhere or another.
“Don’t use words you don’t understand,” the vampire had said. Then, “Don’t use words I don’t understand.” If I’d believed in vampires, I might have believed in him.
“I’ll be there.”
A soft laugh, almost unheard. “I know. You have to know, don’t you?”
I nodded, knowing she couldn’t see.
“Maybe you’ll understand then.”
Snapping the phone shut, I stuffed it back into my pocket, glanced around. Empty graves never did much for me, not even if the moonlight smelled like Jasmine.
I vanished into the darkness.