«Good evening, Gérard. I've missed you.»
The woman all in black laid her lilies against the gravestone, as she did one day a year, every year. But this was not the customary day, or month, or for that matter, even the daytime at all.
«I know; I'm early. But I do not know what to do.»
She took out a small bottle of wine - a fillette of Chinon red, so dark, almost purple - and two particularly delicate glasses. One, she set on the gravestone. The other, she kept.
«I've got into bad situations before, Gérard. But this one... I'm in real trouble now.»
She poured wine for the two of them, swirling the glasses gently. A little for herself, more for Gérard, and then, on second thought, more for herself after all.
«I love her, Gérard. I thought I had turned everything down so low and far from myself that I would not see it again after you, my dearest. But...»
The woman closed her eyes, sipped her wine, and bit her lower lip, before continuing.
«I love her. As I loved you.»
She opened her eyes.
«To be honest with myself, I was almost ready for that. But then, when I put her in your place, in my memory...»
She drank the rest of her glass of wine, all of it, at once, like someone already a little too drunk, red invisible on her blue lips. To anyone looking on, she would seem a exquisitely graceful lout; to herself, she felt she could barely hold onto the glass's stem at all.
«...I do not think I could pull the trigger this time, Gérard.»
She threw her glass away, violently, the fragile crystal smashing into a thousand pieces against nearby stones. Then, she reached out, poured the contents of Gérard's glass onto his grave, and carefully put his glass back down.
«I'm so, so sorry. I did not think it was possible... but...»
A heavy breath.
«I think I love her more than I loved you.»
Water, from her eyes, for the first time in many years.
«I did not imagine that was possible. And yet I think... I think, with her... I could not do it, no matter the cost.»
She drained the dregs of the wine directly from the bottle, and, rather than destroying it, knelt down and placed it gently on her husband's grave, the water in her eyes pooling, falling, tears.
«Help me figure this out, Gérard. I don't know what to do, and I'm so afraid, afraid that this time...»
«...I would let the world burn.»