Cora Nichols slumped in a burgundy-colored sofa, her arms a shield of defiance at her chest, and glared at her family. She'd a mind to go over and slap each and everyone, show them what grieving a loved one truly looked like. Even the funeral director had more sense, somber and quiet, standing at the front doors, welcoming those that entered.
Julia lounged on a lime-green couch with white pillows embroidered with tiny pink flowers. She hummed and knitted. Her self-striping hat was coming along nicely. She was pleased and figured she'd have it done in time for Christmas.
An older woman, with graying hair at her temples, hands me a cup of coffee. "Let it cool. It's still too hot," the woman says. I don't know who she is, but I'm not going to listen to the likes of her. I take a sip and burn my tongue. Maybe the strange woman was right.
Rain pelts the ground, driving river streaks down my face and neck and chills my bones; my thin wool jacket soaks through. I should hurry home, but my feet stay leaden on the mountain road—another couple of miles to go.