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The snow danced around the somber faces of Francis, Barbara, and Dean as they walked to their cars from the funeral home. Barbara cursed the effect the precipitation had on her precious Gucci leather jacket as she pulled the fur-lined hood over her shoulder-length blond hair. She skipped ahead of Francis and Dean, pulled out her keys, and jumped into the safe shelter of the Lincoln Navigator that was waiting for them.

The two men made their way to the vehicle at a slower pace without similar concern for their own fabric. Dean kept his hands inside his parka’s pockets to ward off the chill as he quietly reminded himself to not forget his gloves inside his own car next time.

They stopped outside of the blue behemoth that was the Navigator. Dean shook his head clean of the snow that had built a small mountain on his cranium. He looked into the window at Barbara and smiled. She flashed him a smile in response, turned her eyes to the vanity, and wiped the beads of melted snow off her brow with a tissue.

“How is Barbara putting up with all of this?” Dean asked.

“Hm? Oh, she wasn’t too keen on coming here today. You know, because of the past and all that.”

“But she knows that it was over way before you two even knew each other.”

“Yeah, but she was worried that it would be overwhelming for me.”

The wind picked up and a slight whistle through the air could be heard. Dean looked up towards the grey-hued sky and blinked profusely while the snow fell on his cold face.

“Was it, Francis? Was it overwhelming for you?”

Francis stared beyond Dean and towards the number of mini-crowds that were gathering in the parking lot. Friends of the family, relatives, long-term acquaintances - they were all there sobbing, hugging, shaking hands slowly, and sobbing some more. Bittersweet reunions were to be found en masse with people returning to town reluctantly and only for such a tragedy. Francis could feel a lump begin to form in his throat but he coughed twice before it could bring in its excess baggage.

“If there was a book out there called ‘Overwhelming’, it would be an epic story about the past two weeks in my life. At least 500 pages, I would imagine.”

Dean stepped forward, stood by Francis, and gazed upon the crowds. The muted lamentations of the masses drowned out whatever wailing tune the winter wind had played earlier. The lights of the lot had turned on and bathed the colorful crowd in a yellow hue against the white backdrop.

“She did love you, Francis. When you told her that you couldn’t do it, that you couldn’t take that extra step towards salvation, it broke her heart.”

Glory to God!” a voice cried out from the crowd, “He has brought his angel home!” The lump came back to Francis’s throat but once again, he coughed it clean before it could unleash its flurry of tears. This made his grim demeanor even more so as memories long buried raced in his head with the all of the speed and glimmer of a falling star.

Go to Part 3

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