Marie drew closer, embarrassed, should there be a handshake? She knew she knew. The one, the other. Both connected to the man under the wreaths of colorful flowers. The man in the coffin. Marie the lover, and not so clandestine even; Marie the fiancée; Marie who never got to be the wife. Françoise, from long ago, the girlfriend; Françoise the fiancée; the (first) wife; Françoise the divorcée.
Albert had recently discovered he had a heart condition.
Marie’s hand. Françoise’s firm grasp. Who would have thought? At the café, lit by a gentle sun, they ended up exchanging comments on the hot chocolate, one, and on the blackberry infusion, the other; “He could never…” behind sunglasses; “Yes, that’s true!” hair tied in a bun. “So you never got to be his wife.” “I miss him.” “Oddly, I miss him, too.”