The first time I saw her was at the graveyard behind St. Mathew’s church last Sunday after Mass. The sky was dark, and the rain was pouring down. Yet she stood there, her hat covering her face, the raindrops entering her empty flower basket and the last red rose in her white gloved hand. A lone drop appeared at her eyes, slid down her cheek and fell to her lips.
I took a step toward her, but a restraining hand touched my shoulder. I turned behind to see Father Donovan there. “James, let her tears come. Lily has been mourning without tears for a year now. Her father was murdered when he walked down the aisle for a second time, a knife through the heart from the lady’s former lover. His blood fell on her roses, and she’s been unable to reveal her sorrows ever since.”
Another tear appeared on her cheek, as she fell to her knees and sobbed in front of her father’s grave. A lone tear slid down mine, unable to imagine her sorrow. I let Father Donovan lead me away, leaving her tears to mingle with the rain.
I returned to St. Mathew’s yesterday. Father Donovan wasn’t there, but she was, still in her flower girl’s dress. She saw me, came and took my hand. “I saw a tear slide down your cheek the other day. You are a very sweet person. How can I thank you for sharing my sorrow?” she asked. I just smiled as she led me behind the church. Father Donovan was presiding over a burial. She stood on her toes and kissed me on the cheeks. “I’ve to go now. You might see me again soon. I’m happy now”, she said and walked back inside. I went to stand by the grave and throw a handful of mud on the coffin. Father Donovan saw me and shook his head. I didn’t know what he meant.
As the family of the deceased slid the marble lid on the grave, I saw the inscription on it. I looked back, and saw her smiling from near the door to St. Mathew’s. Another tear slid down my cheek as my eyes drifted back to the inscription, “Lily Cartwright, 1990-2002, “Entered an angel, Left an angel.””