As I lay dying in that field of wildflowers, my thoughts turned again to Mary. Not to how we had become quarrelsome and distant under the constant pressure of raising the children and the lack of steady work, but to the way she'd looked under that cherry tree in her favorite blue sundress the first time she'd allowed me to kiss her. How her eyes had always gleamed with a youthful mystery and mischief despite her intentions. The smell of her sweet summer skin. The smile that could break me into a thousand pieces that would take days the fit back together. That awful perfume she so loved that lingered lazily in the room long after she'd moved on to other endeavors.

The pain seemed to lessen. Lifting my hand to my face, the cooling blood red on my fingers, I thought it odd all I could think of was her lips on the rare occasion she would make herself up when we were expecting company or were planning to take the long trip into the city. I laughed at my foolishness and the pain returned sharp and cruel.

The bluebonnets reaching up above me swayed gently in the breeze, their outline blurring against the clear open sky. I closed my eyes and imagined them displayed in the vase her mother had given us when I'd announced my intentions to make her my wife. She would take such careful care of them. Under her hand they'd have stayed vibrant and bright long past their time. Why hadn't I the sense to do the same?