Eliza’s eyes had only felt this ache once before. At the birth of her daughter. She had been in labour for over twenty hours – twenty-seven, the midwife told her later. Then, it had been fatigue that caused her eyes to ache. No, not fatigue. Exhaustion.
Now, she stared beyond the crowd, scared to blink, scared to let out the first tear, scared that once the pain started pouring out of her it would never end. Not until she, too, was completely gone.
People approached to express condolences. Her daughter, now fully grown, sat beside her and gently deflected their approach. Occasionally, Eliza responded with a vague nod of her head, but she had no idea if this was noticed by anyone.
She breathed in deeply, feeling the prickle of tears in her eyes, trying desperately to draw them back inside, but it was no good. She felt them gather, blurring her vision of him; his shoulders heaving as he released his own tears.
What right did he have to cry?
This thought pulled her back from her catatonia. She shook her head and wiped her eyes and nose aggressively with the back of her sleeve and started to plan revenge.