After the disaster of Calder’s wedding, everyone seemed to return to their prospective corners. Calder was not nearly as shaken up as he probably should have been. Kaylynn and he continued on with their friendship though it was not nearly as passionate. Dale continued work on a painting he would not let anyone see while Dagmar tried to finish up another novel and redecorate the house. Brendon was finishing up his final year in school and struggling with the advanced concepts.
On a cold winter’s morning, Dale was working on his special painting. Calder was upstairs sleeping after a long night shift. Kaylynn was cooking. In the living room, Dagmar was finishing up some quiet reading time. Suddenly, the temperature dropped and cold hair descended on Dale in his study. He felt something “change” inside the house. Something was wrong. He dropped his paints and scrambled out of the room.
Death had come for Dagmar Harrison. He floated up behind her and she turned slowly. She did not appear frightened at first but then Death showed her his hourglass. She seemed to suddenly realize what was happening and began to argue with him.
Death pronounced his final silent sentence as Dale came running into the room.
There were no time left. Dagmar waved once to Dale, tears in her eyes, and she mouthed the words, “I love you.” Then, she was gone. Kaylynn also came into the room. When it was over all the two of them could do was cry. Calder and Brendon, upstairs, had no idea what had happened.
Dale was crushed. He had known the two of them were getting close to the end but he had not been ready. It had been so sudden. For the first time in his life he disintegrated.
The next week was a hard for all the Harrisons. Calder and Brendon took the news roughly. It seemed to galvanize Kaylynn and she was there for them constantly.
Brendon began spending more time by himself outside. Calder returned to work and did his best to recover.
Dale, though, was not the same for several days. He muttered. He rambled on about his wife. He ate odd combinations of food. He was unpredictable and most definitely unstable.
The painting he had been working on so feverishly had been a piece for Dagmar. A set piece of the rose bouquets from their first torrid weeks together as a couple. A painting she never got to see. He remembered the dancing in the poker hall, the tiny house, the early wonderful days with his wife.
In his grief he designed a shrine for her around the painting. He placed it in the living room so she could be present during meals, during family times. He would sit by it for hours at a time, silently staring at the painting or quietly whispering to himself.
Winter slowly began to change into Spring . Dale began to recover. He was heard playing on the couch a few times, he juggled water bottles for Brendon. He started to come back to painting. But, in the evening, he was also heard going outside.
No different on the evening of the last snow of the year as he walked outside to the small graveyard he had built for the family. He had always expected to be the first one to break ground here, the first one to be laid to rest. He came out here at night to be with her, to talk with her.
It was in the evenings he missed her the most.