© Bruce Goodman 27 July 2014
Merle had never married. Way back, she’d had a son. In those days they called a child born out of wedlock “illegitimate”. Rex was illegitimate. She’d kept her son, and did not have him adopted out. Oh! the criticism she got back then!
And now he was dead. Twenty-seven years of almost always joy! He had left New Zealand fifteen months earlier, for a tour of America and Europe, some work in London, and a skiing holiday in Switzerland. With his girlfriend. He had died in a skiing accident. Merle wanted the body brought home. Not the ashes. The body. Rex’s girlfriend would travel with it. It would take a week. Merle filled in the week’s wait by organising the funeral, and tidying the house, and weeding the garden. She would meet the plane at the airport.
The day arrived. She greeted the girlfriend. No? Didn’t we tell you? We had him cremated. The ashes are scattered on the ski field in Switzerland. There’s to be no funeral.
“But… ,” said Merle.
“I was his partner,” said the girlfriend. “I call the shots, not you. Bad luck, lady.” The girlfriend walked off to be met by friends.
Merle was devastated. She went home. She bawled her eyes out. She thought the girlfriend to be an utter bitch. She spent the next several years trying to purify her mind of the bitch thought. She knew Rex would not have wanted her to think of his girlfriend like that.
Merle is still waiting. But she doesn’t know what she’s waiting for.