Margery Gans: Seeking Forgiveness

       He had been watching it for two weeks. A terrible month before that–-her death by her own hand, the blood he’d scrubbed off the bathroom floor, and finally the quick and dirty burial, the priest scuttling away without looking at him (at least he gave her a blessing), the coffin slammed shut and him, parked with a flat tire next to the cemetery. All the unfinished…but wasn’t that always true?
       At first, it had been nothing, a bump—not even a bump, a lift in the ground. You could mistake it for the burial mound of a bird, interred by small children. He imagined them saying childish prayers for their pet budgie, Hamish, and then running, laughing, back into their yard. By Tuesday, it had the heft of a gopher run, a Lilliputian temple; but there were no gophers, not the way there had been on the island when he was a boy.
       Thursday, it was the size of a shoebox in the morning and by evening you could see, even from the window, it had widened to a hatbox and risen two or three inches. When he let Chester out, the scrawny mutt went straight for the protrusion and sniffed and whined and looked back at him as if to say, “What the—?” So he had walked out, knelt down, put his palm on the dirt and felt its warmth. Warmth. Was it moving? He’d had a whiskey, but not enough to make him feel the earth move, in any sense. That night he went to Mass and sought forgiveness for her, for them, most of all for himself, hoping on Friday morning to see the grass, flat, uneventful, as it had been the day of her funeral.
Hoping something he had done would make the difference.

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