Peter looked up through the stone dust to see Jasper Cavanaugh come through the door to the warehouse, a whip of October wind at his back. He steadied his hand around his chisel, but lowered his striking arm.
Cavanaugh removed his hat, but left his gloves on.
“Mr. Jones!” Cavanaugh barked. Peter watched his foreman leave his desk to meet Cavanaugh where he stood.
The men conferred, Jones’s entire body a deferential study in class structure. Peter leaned over, his two hands braced on the granite grave marker in front of him–the dates of the deceased etched in his mind now, to be carved once Cavanaugh was gone. He watched the two men talking, framed by the warehouse door, the rolling backdrop of the Green Mountains watercolored scarlet and gold behind them.
Jasper Cavanaugh swept from the building towards his waiting car, his hat and driving coat fluttering as another gust kicked up. Peter watched Jones approach him.
“If anyone needed more evidence that the bastard killed her, I’d have it. He demanded we give her the angel with–and I quote,” Jones sneered, “an impressive epitaph.”
“Ayuh,” Peter replied, clenching his fist around the chisel, careful not to let the blade touch the stone beneath. The angel, commissioned by Cavanaugh for the new church–before his wife’s death, would now serve as her marker.
“He wants my best mason on the job,” Jones continued. “Pete, you know that means you.”
“Ayuh.” Peter released the chisel. It also meant Cavanaugh knew the truth.
“I’ll send the Frenchman to finish this,” Jones said, waving a hand over the stone upon which Peter leaned. “You find some flowery words for the base of that angel.”
“Ayuh.” Peter set his tools down and turned to face her. She stood ten feet with her pedestal, life-sized and haunting, casting Sadie’s tender, empty gaze over him. He’d carved her with her wings folded behind her, humanizing the form. He blinked stone dust from his eyes.
Cavanaugh would have his epitaph, but she would have their revenge.
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.*
Sadie Cavanaugh, 1897-1932
Daughter * Wife * Beloved
*excerpted from “Song” by Christina Rosetti