Even though they sat next to each other, and Peter could feel Grace’s presence, as if his body was reacting to her electricity, he knew the distance could not be greater.
Not once had she looked at him. As someone ushered him to the seat at the front, everyone looked away, but out of the corner of their eyes watched how Grace would react to him.
It was as if he were dead. But he wasn’t the one who had died.
Peter stared into the middle distance, unwilling to acknowledge the casket in front of him. The longer he ignored it, the longer he could continue thinking Rory still lived.
There was no unwinding the past. All he had was this moment. And the whiskey now taking hold of his mind. Things came into sharper focus. He scanned the familiar faces that he’d not seen in years. No one would make eye contact with him. Cowards.
Someone was talking, the words nothing more than the sound of leaves rustling in the wind.
He stood up, approached his son’s coffin. The wood was cold to the touch. Somehow, his son’s lifeless body was on the other side.
Memories of Rory as a body struggling out of the bear hugs. If Peter held on too long, Rory would scream as his anxieties took hold. How could his son, always afraid of small spaces, be able to lie in such a confining space?
Peter wanted to pry open the coffin and free his son. But his absence these last few years condemned Rory to always be alone, without his father.