“She didn’t die here?” I hardly dare ask the question, my voice barely a whisper. You are a man for statements, not explanations.
“She did not die here,” you say. It is a bald statement.
Yet again, as has been our custom, I let the silence hang between us. It is a new routine, to replace those of my prior, solitary existence.
“She died out there,” you say, pointing to the hills that brood on the horizon.
“I am sorry,” I say, looking at you. You are staring towards those hills, as if to destroy them with your thoughts. I kneel down, reach out to brush the dust and lichen from the worn stone, to reveal her name to the elements.
“NO!” You grasp my arm, pull me up and away from the headstone. I bite down on the yelp of protest as pain arrows across my shoulders. You do not like dissent. I have learned this lesson well.
“She was careless,” you say and stride away from me. You mount your horse, landing in the saddle in one, supple move.