She was dead.
So well loved was she. Still, one vulture came repeatedly, to pick over the corpse.
The old man called, “Come quickly, she’s taking everything of value.”
She could not go. She could not participate. What the old woman wanted her to have, she placed lovingly in her hand, days before death came knocking. All saw. None dared dispute her will. The old woman was wise. She knew what was to come.
The old man called again, “You must come now! There will be nothing left.”
Unwillingly. Begrudgingly. With leaden feet. She went.
She embraced the old man. He appeared lost but with a sense of purpose.
“You came too late.”, he mourned.
She kissed him.
He led her around the house, pointing out what had been taken. He opened her closet. The smell of the old woman lingered in her garments.
Delighted. She knew instantly what she wanted.
How did the vulture miss this? She wondered.
The old woman and she had laughed at the ugliness of it. Comfort was the old woman’s defense. She wore it to run errands, to do chores. Easy on. Easy off. One piece and snapped up the front.
She took it from the hanger and packed it tightly in a plastic bag.
She kept the old woman’s vestment in her own closet now. Occasionally, she would carefully open the bag…put her face fully in…and breathe deeply of the old woman.