Veronica's first brush with death had been when her grandmother died.
Her father had woken her up in the middle of the night, his voice quite and somber, trying to explain what had happened to Veronica while her mother sobbed over a dwindling bottle of Vodka in the kitchen.
“Grandma’s gone away, Veronica.”
“When will she be coming back, Daddy?”
“She won’t be, Veronica. She won’t be.”
Veronica had gone to the funeral in a black dress that had been too big for her. It had been open casket, but her father hadn’t let her look. Her mother had cried through the service, and taken sips from a water bottle during the funeral. Her father hadn’t let her drink it.
Veronica didn’t cry because she still didn’t understand how anyone could be really gone.
Many years later, Lilly Kane was buried in the same cemetery. She’d never visited the graveyard after her grandmother died, never comprehending. But Veronica went for Lilly. She walked right past her grandmother’s tombstone, and stood in front of Lilly’s marker. Her clothes were still too big for her. She was losing weight.
“When will you be coming back Lilly?”
There was no answer.
“You won’t be… will you?”
Veronica still wondered where Lilly and her grandmother had gone, if they were together, if they were too far away to answer her, and if they bothered to at all.