The grass is lush and wet with dew, the ground spongy on this Monday morning. The dog named Elvis wants to play, leaping up with dirty paws as the couple navigates their way across the expansive backyard down to the fence.
She is fearful of falling, even against the soft ground. Too many bad memories from the accident. The man calls out to the dog, commands him to stop. She tries to push the over-eager hound away, her voice breaking a little. She hasn’t slept at all and her nerves are raw.
“I’m sorry, Elvis. Not now. Just–not now.” Slogging through the thick grass, they finally reach the big pecan tree at the fence.
The hole has already been dug. The man had done it the day before. He’d had the feeling the night would end as it did.
He carries a sturdy plastic container with a snap-on lid. He had bought it a few days before. Once the woman finally spoke of the inevitable, it had freed him to make preparations.
The container was hot pink. He’d thought she’d like that better than the clear ones. More–girly, he had said, with a sad, sheepish smile.
The man lowers the container into the hole. For a moment, he bows his head and presses his hand on the top. “Goodbye, girl,” he says softly. This is the fifth time he’s gone through such a ceremony here beneath the big, shady pecan tree. It just doesn’t ever get any easier.
Standing, he wraps his arm around the woman and gives her a hug, brushing his lips against her cheek. She can feel tears running down her face. She is not sure if they are her tears, or his.
With a sigh, he releases her and picks up the shovel, filling in the hole and patting the earth down firmly before placing the concrete block on top.
A concrete block isn’t very girly, but it does help protect the gravesite.
They pause for a few moments, saying nothing, and then turn to walk back to the house. He gives her the shovel. “That should help you keep steady,” he said with a half-smile. He is such a kind and gentle man.
She wouldn’t trade him for all the gold or gorgeous actors in the world.