Three months ago my wife died. Lung cancer, 50 a day, even with all these damn health warnings. Perhaps she just chose to ignore them, the habit filling something inside her that, evidently, I failed to. Or perhaps she was just wiser than the rest of us, trying to kill herself off without actually committing suicide. Just so she didnt have to deal with this earth as it slipped steadily back into the dark ages. I guess it makes sense, I mean who the fuck would want to stay on this shithole planet with the cracks in the concrete slowly widening, voices spilling out, reminding us of our atrocities. Just turn the music up. Perhaps because people just want to fucking whinge. Thats the only reason I can think of for staying alive, with the world going the way it is.
We had the funeral in Spain, her favourite country. A small town, tiny really, just a few hundred houses scattered amongst the cliff faces, the bay making a tight C between the land. The mosquitoes were biting that night; attracted by the candles blowing in the wind on top of the cliff, looking out over the ocean, such a small congregation. The guests slapped at invisible irritants as they delivered their empty words, all wrapped up in the complimentary black ribbon, shuffling uncomfortably on the little stage, the white canvas billowing behind them and almost sighing with relief when their turn was over, eyes wide, just like scared little children. Pass the bat, we got a shitkickin home run. Glad to be rid of an invisible, unbearable something. Glad to be out of the limelight. After the funeral I tried to replace my misery with drink, and failed, miserably.
The next day, at sunset, having worked off my hangover, I went back up to the cliff top, her favourite ribbon in my hand. It used to be her mothers. She passed it down when we had married, saying This will bond you two forever, and you must pass it to your child, just as my mother passed it to me when I was wed. We had never had any children, not in all of our twenty five years together. I reached the edge of the cliff, small stones tumbling down into the churning waters, the ribbon flapping loosely in my hand. The sun spat an orange and pink glow over the sea, a few anorexic clouds fumbling across the horizon, distant tears in an eye. I held my hand up to the breeze, the ribbon flapping against my fingers. I uncurled them slowly, the ribbon, finally gaining freedom, soared out to sea, dancing sweet pirouettes as the sun slinked behind the horizon, the world closing its lids to a life it would never know.