After the Funeral
Patrick Cullen (University of Newcastle, Australia)
I made my way toward the woman standing alone by the hearse.
“Do I know you?” I asked.
“No. We haven’t met. Your husband and I—” the woman hesitated. “I knew your husband,” she said, her voice hovering over each word as though she did not want to bear down on them with undue gravity, as though she did not want to stake a claim greater than she had claim to. And something shifted beneath the pale surface of her made up face. I saw then how the whites of her eyes were dull and traced with thin lines of blood, and that her lips were dark and swollen.
“My husband’s dead,” I said, gesturing at the long black car beside us. The woman and I stood there, reflected in the dark body of the hearse, and I saw that she was crying, something I had not yet given in to. “My husband’s dead,” I told myself, wondering when it was that I first lost him.
Patrick Cullen’s collection of stories, What Came Between, was written as part of a PhD at the University of Newcastle and published by Scribe in 2009. Five of the stories in What Came Between were published in The Best Australian Stories between 2005 and 2007. Find out more at www.patrickcullen.com.au.