I buried my husband today.
The wind hurled the rain hard enough to scour the flesh like it sometimes does out here. No one came bar Preacher Stone and Mr Furnedge. Preacher Stone was there because he had to be, Guy Furnedge… fucked if I know. But if I did, I suspect I mightn’t like it too much. Still, I got more to worry about than the town’s diminutive, overly fragrant and slightly creepy lawyer.
They told me Tom fell off his horse. When Sheriff Shenan left, I sat and drank whiskey and waited for the tears to come. I’m still waiting. I never loved Tom McCrea. Never really loved any man, truth be told. Easy to believe if you ever have the misfortune to stumble across any of the violent, stupid drunks I managed to get involved with before him.
Poor Tom was a better man than any of them, with a big heart and a soft head. But I never had it in me to love him, though it eventually dawned on me that he really did love me for some reason I never was able to fathom. We met on a stage trundling between somewhere and nowhere. Got married a few months later in a dusty cattle town I can’t even recall the name of. We were both pretty drunk.
We spent much of the next four years running from one place or other thanks to Tom’s temper or Tom’s hair-brained get rich quick schemes or Tom’s plain simple old fashioned dumb-fuckery. Then two years ago we pitched up in Hawker’s Drift without much more than the clothes on our backs. The very last stop on anybody's line. But things went well here, Tom got in with the Mayor, don’t really know doing what, didn’t want to know to be honest. I was just grateful the money kept rolling in. Got ourselves a nice house, good clothes, never been hungry here.
I should have known something was wrong.
Fell off his horse they said. But I don’t think so. Or if he did, someone gave him a helping hand, if you get my meaning. Tom got quiet and surly in the weeks before he died, the way he always did when were about to get a bucket of shit dropped on our heads from a great height. Then he had a will drawn up. That should really have got me worried. Tom never thought about tomorrow. Then he died. And people started avoiding me. And the town deputies began watching me. And I got to wondering maybe whoever had helped Tom off of his horse might have ideas about me too.
Now I’m alone again. And scared. All I want to do is get out of Hawker’s Drift, but I’m not sure that’s something I’m ever going to be allowed to do...