The sparkling July sunshine mocked the somber funeral participants. A semicircle of mourners curled around the open grave and watched as a smooth ebony coffin was lowered into the damp earth. Away from the crowd, huddled beneath the shade of a maple tree, three women looked over the proceedings. Tears studded their flushed cheeks and sweat bloomed beneath their black dresses.

“It’s so sad,” Lenore muttered. “Celia was so healthy and then this heart attack out of nowhere.”

“I know, “Paula agreed. ”And look at Warner he looks so lost and bereft.”

“And handsome too,” Corinne whispered. “He’s still a hunk. Celia was lucky to have him.”

“For sure. She was a wonderful, big hearted woman, but not so hot looking.” Corinne wiped her face with the back of her hand blending tears and perspiration. “Even in college she was the least good looking of the four of us.”

“Well,” Lenore said. “Age sure levels the playing field. Now in our sixties I think we are equally hot looking.”

“Or not so hot,” Corinne said.

“Oh we’re hot,” Paula said. “It’s ninety degrees out. Why did she pick such a steamy day to die?”

“Oooh, how cruel,” Lenore said with a catty smile.

“What’s sadder?” Paula asked. “Celia’s death or all those years Warner wasted on her.”

“Any one of us would have made a better match for him,” Corinne said.

“Well we had our chance to lure him,” Paula reminded the women as Warner walked to the gravesite and dropped a handful of dirt into the hole in the ground.

“Yeah,” Lenore said. “We all had a crack at him. We all slept with him before they got engaged.”

“Yes, but after they started dating. We were pretty sneaky. Amazing Celia never found out.” Paula said.

Corinne elbowed the other women.

“Shhh, here comes Warner.”

The tall slender man, his dark hair frosted with gray at the temples, approached the little group. He wiped his eyes with a handkerchief and attempted a smile that just wouldn’t come.

“Thank you for coming,” he said. “I appreciate your sympathy. Besides just watching you huddled together here reminds me that I picked the right one of you to marry.”

He walked away and disappeared into a shiny black limousine.

Corinne, Paula and Lenore watched with their mouths drooped open.


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