REST IN PEACE
By Patricia Della Valle
I can’t say I’m uncomfortable. The bed is wide enough, and they’ve put a satin pillow under my head. Of course, it isn’t like my bed at home with the magnificent carved headboard Robert ordered from Italy when we were first married. It was embellished with gold leaf. The four posts were also carved.
I had ordered the canopy and coverlet from the finest seamstress in Paris. They were made of silk from Scalamandre. The bed was fit for a queen.
Robert was madly in love with me, but of course that was then. Now, I think I am dead. They have closed my eyes, but, I remember reading somewhere that the hearing is the last to go. I don’t know how long it will last, but right now I hear everything loud and clear.
People are starting to look at me and comment. I’d recognize that voice anywhere. My friend, Maria, with her adorable southern accent, which she should have dropped years ago. “Oh, Evelyn, darlin’” she was saying. “We all will miss you so much. I just can’t bear it.” I could have puked.
I heard her sniffle and blow her nose and then she left.
A couple came by right after. “Poor Robert,” the man said. “He’s such a nice guy. He’ll really miss Evelyn.
“Don’t worry about poor Robert. He was left quite comfortable. All that money and the house. It must be worth millions, but I’m sure he deserves it.”
“Come, Maddie. I’m not at ease speaking in front of Evelyn.”
“You goose,” she said. “Evelyn’s dead. She can’t hear you.” I heard them walk away.
I wonder what she meant – Robert deserves it. Here comes my sister-in-law with a man. She’s always with a man. Don’t recognize his voice, but hers you can’t miss. Harriet had acquired an English accent over the years. She thought it made her seem high class. It didn’t help her. She still sounds like Brooklyn to me.
“Evelyn looks quite well considering the circumstances,” she was saying. “They did a smashing job with her make-up and her hair. She looks better now than when she was alive.”
That bitch! She was always jealous of me. Robert was devoted to our marriage. She went through three marriages to my one.
She’s bending over me now. I can hear her breathing. Please don’t kiss me, Harriet. I think she’s blowing me a kiss. “Au revoir,” she says dramatically. Thank God, they’re leaving.
I wonder where Robert is.
It sounds like women from my bridge club are here. “You can’t help feeling sorry for her, one of them is saying. “She had no idea Robert was having an affair. It would have killed her if she found out.”
“And with one of her friends,” the other one said.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“You know, when this first happened they suspected Robert of killing her. If she was gone, it would be a clear path to the inheritance, but they decided she died of a heart attack. Lucky for him!”
“What do you mean, lucky for him? Do you think he could have killed her?”
“No. Of course not. Things like that only happen in the movies.”
“I think that’s Robert coming.”
“You’re right. Let’s say our goodbyes and leave.”
It is Robert. Those rotten women. Robert is bending over me. He’s whispering.
“Dear Evelyn. It’s so good to see you – in your coffin. I thought this day would never come. You gave me the ten worst years of my life, constantly reminding me of your money, like teasing a rabbit with a carrot. I didn’t give a damn about your money! When we married, I really loved you, but it became harder and harder as your disposition changed to nasty. ”
What is Robert talking about? I was never nasty.
“I recently met an acquaintance of yours who is just the opposite of you. She’s sweet and caring and she loves me. Many times over the years you said you would never divorce me. I had no choice. I had to kill you if I ever wanted to be happy again. It was so easy. A little something in your coffee and down you went. From that moment on life changed. If they ever question me about your death, I don’t care. I will always be grateful for the time I spent with Maria.”
That’s who he killed me for? That little simpleton, Maria? I could just scream.
“It looks like they are coming to close your coffin.“Goodbye, Evelyn. Requiescat in pace. Rest in peace.”
Patricia Della Valle is a senior with a love of mysteries. She is enrolled at Nova South Southeastern University in creative writing classes and recently self-published a series featuring Peter Abbott, P.I. – detective stories with humor. Patricia has written short mysteries for which she won several awards. This is her second published story.
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