As the crowd began to leave the church, Kathleen stayed in her pew with Charley and her mother, not wanting to talk to anyone. Her friends from the newspaper offered their condolences, and Carrie and Marlene said they would wait outside for her.
When the church emptied, the three of them walked up to the closed casket. Kathleen brushed the side of it with her hand, noting how cold it was, like the body inside. She stood there for a moment, reflecting on her life with Scott Buckley.
Despite all the outward appearances of being married to a wealthy, charming man, it had been an empty, loveless life. Feeling exhausted, she realized the years spent with him were wasted, leaving no real meaning. The countless social events to raise money for the local symphony or arts center, the dinner parties to impress some big shot, and the political machinations behind the scene that were so important to Scott brought nothing of import to the grave.
All she wanted for herself was to find peace. She felt shamed by her behavior during Mass, crying uncontrollably, not for Scott, but for herself. Kathleen silently vowed that she would never cry like that again.
“Let’s get out of here,” she said to her family.
As they walked outside, Father O’Malley stood alone by the door. The priest seemed hesitant to approach her, so she walked up to him.
“Thanks, Father, for mentioning my name. I know that was a hard thing for you to do, considering the mere mention of my existence might affect Philip Buckley’s donation to the church.”
“Kathleen…” the priest began, but she cut him off.
“Never mind, Father. I don’t need any explanations. If anyone knows how things work in this town, I do.”
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