Dec 1996 / Jan 1997


by Paulette Roberts

She dropped off her dead husband at Kremsky's Funeral Home. She stayed in the driver's seat, not wanting to get out in the rain. It was his funeral. She figured he'd get where he needed to go.

Home, she entered glass doors, passed their building telephone, unlocked more glass doors, echoed down their long terrazzo lobby, and rode their elevator to their apartment. She put down her big brown alligator-hide handbag with the brass clasp. Looked around their kitchen. Found a pretzel.

She snapped on their radio.

"Tornado warnings," said the announcer.

Of all the days to die. So much rain. Maybe even windshear.

Hours passed.

She turned on their telly.

"Trees down," it said. "Power out."

She sat in her rocker. Ate the pretzel. Heard his wheeze. Looked at his indentation in his empty chair. Looked at their clock.

The funeral home hadn't called. Everything must be okay, but maybe not. Maybe she should've waited. The weather was worrisome. Getting worse. He'd be delayed. She hated to think of him waiting to take off. So lonely.

Their phone rang. She pushed herself up onto thick ankles. She hoped the caller would let it ring long enough for her to answer.

"Hello?" she said.


It was her husband.

"I'm so happy to hear your voice." She was weeping. "Where are you?"

She expected him to say, "Changing in St. Paul. From here it's a straight shot."

He said, "Buzz me in. I'm in our lobby. It was cancelled. Windshear."