He could still remember the sounds of Paris. Sweet music drifting in and out of shops, bars and restaurants. The small cobblestone walkways, the fragrances of something sweet. The Eiffel Tower on the horizon brightly lit. It had been 10 years and it was the same. Except what once was a happy time for him, he was now burying his wife. It was her last wish before the cancer took her. She had been too young. The funeral was 3 days time and after that he wasn't sure where he would end up.
There was a small restaurant down from the tower. The pastries smelled of heaven. There were two customers besides him and no one behind the counter. He could hear quiet curses from the kitchen. When the door flew open he couldn't catch his breath.
Her hair was a fiery mess and so was her face, which paled when she saw him.
"I'm so sorry. Not used to having new customers. What can I get ya?" her thick, roughish Irish accent surprised him.
He ordered a few danishes and a glass of wine. She stared dumbfounded for a bit, then went to get his order.
He chose a window table, with an amazing view of Paris. The danishes were enough to send him into a quite wonderful daydream. He was interrupted when the woman sat across from him.
"Where is your wife on such a beautiful night?" She glanced down at his wedding ring, which he had refused to remove.
"Not here." He looked down into his glass feeling emotion swell inside him.
"You bring her back here. It's nice not having the French come in and go on about how horrible it is to have the Irish in France. Now go buy her some flowers and tell her you're sorry for whatever you did." She smiled once again, patted his shoulder and walked back into her kitchen.
The night air was chilly and seemed a storm was blowing in. As he rounded the corner to his hotel, the raindrops began. Lightening lit up the sky as loud thunder echoed off the buildings.
The morning of the funeral came too fast for John. He stood, listening to the priest, staring down into the hole that his wife would soon be laid to rest. He was numb. He had always thought he would go first, but why her? And for god's sake why so young?
He waited. The sky opened and a light rain fell. The coffin that he had chosen was slowly lowered. The white roses lay, thrown over her, thickening the air with their fragrances. He didn't think he could ever smell a rose again without thinking about this moment.
He was beginning to feel dizzy and weak, so he turned to leave. The red hair caught his eye first as she was kneeling three rows down. She sat, covering her eyes. He slowly approached.
"Excuse me. Do you remember me?"
She looked up and to his amazement she smiled. Even with her cheeks tear-stained, she could warm the soul.
"Just visiting my late husband, what are you doing here?"
"I just buried my wife." He stared back in the direction of her final resting place.
"Ahh. Lets go get something to warm our bellies and take the tenseness off our shoulders."
They walked away from the graveyard and away from the main strip that lead to the Tower. Hidden away in an alley, was a small Irish pub. They sat down and spoke about all that they could. From then on out they were as close as close friends could become.
Four years had passed. John and Maggie were sitting in a small café in Italy, when John collapsed for the last time. The cancer had finally taken its toll.
Later, at the graveyard, John was laid to rest beside his loving wife. Maggie spoke with love.
"To all that knew the Smiths. They both were brave, courageous people. They were madly in love and now their love can last forever in heaven above. They know no more pain and suffering and have eternity with each other. In my eyes, they defeated the evil that flowed through their veins. Always remember their strength when something ill comes your way. Cherish the memories you have of them. Most of all never forget."
She walked slowly away, and toward her husband's grave. Smiling she sat down and cried. She cried for her husband, she cried for John and his lovely wife, but mostly she cried to shed the pain. Her time was coming and like John said, "Live each day like you are going to die the next." With that she picked herself up and left.