The Dead Wife (Part 3)

Day 17

Rick woke up and thought, “My wife is dead.”

He walked into the bathroom, grabbed some Advil from the counter, and swallowed the pills. He braced his arms against the cool marble counter and gazed at his reflection in the bathroom mirror.

His mouth didn’t look like it could smile. He thought there were new lines around his eyes. He hadn’t shaved in a long time days, and he remembered why Min always asked him to shave it off. She had always said he looked like a man stranded on a desert island. Rick thought he looked good considering the circumstances.

He decided to do something outside today. Maybe fix up the flower bed. He just had to get out of the apartment.

Rick drove to Home Depot and bought mulch and flowers. He spent the rest of the morning planting the flowers in front of the apartment. At noon, he made some sandwiches and ate them outside while sipping a beer.

After lunch, he laid down the new mulch. He raked the mulch so it was even and carefully brushed the mulch around the new flowers. He worked slowly, making sure everything was just right.

He finished around 3:30 and went inside to watch TV.

The home phone rang. Rick hesitated. He didn’t want to talk to another sympathetic well-wisher. Nevertheless, he picked up the phone.

“Hello, Mr. Orphe? This is the caretaker at Flint Cemetery. You might want to sit down.”

Rick didn’t sit. “What is it?”

“Your wife’s gravesite was vandalized yesterday. Don’t worry about the casket, it’s fine. We wanted you to know in case you visited the grave. We didn’t want you to be disturbed.”

Rick let the phone drop from his ear. He staggered over to the couch and collapsed. He stared at the wall for several minutes. A sick rage flared in his belly. What kind of sick monster defaced the gravesite of someone who had just died? The anger soon faded to heartache. He couldn’t save her from dying, and now he couldn’t even protect her grave from some stoned junkie.

Finally, he said, “I’m going to get drunk tonight. I’m going to get drunk because my wife is dead.”

Rick went out and bought three bottles of expensive red wine. He drove home, locked his door, and started drinking around 6 PM.


Confused? See part 1 of “The Dead Wife” at

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