Simon knew it was how his wife looked when she died; sweaty hair stained with the blood that had pumped heat to her sex only moments before. There was a chorus of emergency vehicle sirens behind him now, but he walked on. Think cereal, he told himself. Think of all the cereal you can buy now; all the towers Alec can build. But Daneen wouldn’t let go just like the sun that day, shining through cloudscape promise flimsily smeared like hope for a future without guilt. He wondered if this was how she lived those last few months, her head low and eyes dark with secrecy, thoughts of Jaimie running away with her in private times in the tub, away from Simon and the kids. “I’m sorry,” the blonde dead woman had said. A rush of despair, wet and concussive swelled within him and his eyes teared. She’d been somewhere she shouldn’t have been, caught unaware by karma and revenge. And as he didn’t see her face it felt even more possible that he’d tripped through time and distance, crossed light-years of rage and found retribution in a single expired bullet. Simon felt the glacial heft of guilt cleaving his heart suddenly give under the roiling anguish of his hate for Daneen and that sun, that goddamn haunt of light, broke free and bore into him as he took a left and started to loop with a calm pace back toward busy Hastings Corner.
Not good enough. Too little, too late. He’d never gotten to tell her that, and at her wake he stood by her, unthankful for the way the bullet allowed her casket to be open, staring at her sewn-shut lips, and suppressing the sick hatred and betrayal he felt for her being where she wasn’t supposed to be and making him pay the price for it. “I’m sorry” was something she never got to say, the allegedly stray shot catching her in the head and killing her instantly only fifty yards from Jaimie’s old apartment. He winced, clearing his eyes of tears, and the phone in his pocket suddenly rang, Death tapping bony fingertips on the back of Simon’s neck. He swallowed hard and brought the phone to his ear, aware of true malevolence in the world. Everything was in cycle, just like the sun in a threatening sky. (To be continued…)