6 Years Later
Chris walked into the cemetery and sat down next to the headstone. Mallory was buried on a hill overlooking the rest of the cemetery and it was peaceful and calm up there. The row of old oak trees behind her resting place gave a break from the wind and from the noise of the surrounding traffic. After all, the cemetery was in the middle of town and not out in a remote area of Concord, Massachusetts.
Chris sat in silence for a few minutes before he began to speak, “I know it’s been awhile since I’ve been out here to visit. I’m sorry about that, but I’ve had to work through a lot of anger and pain. I had so many when we buried you, love and hate being the two strongest ones. I tried to bury my emotions that day and do nothing but focus on Henry and what he needed. It worked for a little bit, but eventually, it boiled over and we both ended up needing counseling over it. He thought I smothered him and I thought I could never love him enough. Funny how that works out, eh?”
Chris nervously plucked at the grass nearby, he didn’t know what to do with himself as he sat there talking to a headstone. Surely, if anyone saw him or heard him, they would want to call the mental ward on him. But he didn’t care, he had to do this. He had to get his feelings out and he figured if Mallory was going to hear him it would be here.
“We had a bumpy road, Henry and me. We argued about everything, in the beginning. Okay, maybe argue is the wrong word, I think he was pushing to see where his boundaries were. I went easy on him, at first. I felt bad, you know. Filming Civil War in Atlanta helped a lot, but he wasn’t happy when I moved him to Boston. I took a year off and didn’t make any movies and that gave me plenty of time to spend with him. Things started to get better after that.”
Chris let out a deep sigh. Talking to Mallory like this was harder than he had expected it to be, but his therapist had told him he would find it cathartic. So, he would keep at it until he got everything out. No matter how long or it took or how hard it would be.
“I know you would be proud of him, I mean, I know how proud I am so you would be over the moon. He’s graduating high school today and has a full scholarship to Boston College. Henry wants to be a Marine Biologist and I blame you for getting him hooked on penguins at that aquarium program. I tried to talk him into being an astronaut, but he said he wanted to do this. So, I’m encouraging him, but you know I’m really proud of him. He’s smart and a handsome kid, the girls love him and as mom predicted, I have to beat them off him with a stick.”
Chris reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring. He leaned over and stuck the ring into the ground at the base of Mallory’s headstone so the diamond was sticking out of the ground as if it were on display.
“I’ve held onto that ring for years as if I hoped I would wake up one day and you would be standing at the front door waiting for me. But I knew you were never coming back and I just couldn’t let you go. Henry and I have talked about that a lot over the last few years and he’s told me I need to move on. He told me you wouldn’t be mad if I did and that you’d understand. I hope he’s right because that’s one of the reasons I’m here.”
Chris dusted off the dirt from his hands and sat back to stare out over the cemetery. “I met someone two years ago, she runs a software company. I met her through some friends of mine and we became friends, I told her that I was still in love with you and I couldn’t do a relationship, it wasn’t fair. She accepted that and we just hung out and got drinks once in awhile. Her husband died a few years ago so she knew what I was going through. But we started getting close in the last six months or so and I realized I have feelings for her. Honestly, she feels the same way toward me and we want to give it a go, but I feel like I need you to be okay with it. I know that probably sounds ridiculous after all these years. I guess I just want there to be some sort of positive closure. Some sign that you approve of how I raised Henry and you’re okay if I move on.”
Chris sat in silence for a few minutes, knowing that what he was saying was ridiculous. There was no way she was going to be able to show him some sign. Deep down he knew that, but it didn’t stop him from hoping. He finally stood up and dusted off his pants and took a deep breath. He turned and placed his hand on the top of her headstone and closed his eyes.
“I’ll never stop loving you, no matter what. I’ve told Henry that as well. I’m sorry, Mallory, for everything and one day I hope you’ll forgive me.”
As Chris opened his eyes, he noticed that a Cardinal had landed on top of her headstone and was just looking up at him. In that instance, he had his answer. Mallory had forgiven him and told him he could move on.