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Trophy Wife

That afternoon

A considerable crowd had gathered outside the Herrington estate. The imposing mansion to the center of the estate, known as the Old Home among the locals, stood as a symbol of grief that day. The crowd was predominantly dressed in black, as they had come for the mourning. Some were genuinely sad, the others too mourned.

***

Three years ago

I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now seal this union with a kiss.” Said the vicar at the St. John’s Lutheran Church. The wedding had ended and marriage had just started. Sixty two year old Denny Herrington passionately kissed his twenty four year old wife Elsa on her lips for the first time. The wedding of this unlikely couple had interested the inhabitants of the small and quiet town.

Can’t blame the oldie”, chuckled the young Phinny Lambert. “She’s a real beauty. A man got to satisfy his needs.” 

Don’t you see what she has done?” gossiped Denny’s steward Maggi. “How longer would master live? And once he goes, who would inherit all the riches? Oh she is a clever pretty thing.

***

That evening

Let us go in peace to live out the word of god.” 

Mass was performed, and the parish priest gave a simple closing blessing. Those who had gathered began to disperse quietly. They had their own lives to deal with. A few stayed back and sung ‘Abide with me’ and few other closing hymns.

***

Four years ago

The new play ‘Lending a hand’ by popular troupe Mirage Theater was playing to a full house that weekend. The front rows were reserved for family members of politicians and other influential man. Denny Herrington was one of them. He had neither family nor close friends, and he sat alone and watched the drama. The female lead was a new girl. Something about her caught his attention. Her movements were graceful, her voice soothing, and her eyes were irresistible. Denny became a regular for the play.  A man he knew from the troupe told him that her name was Elsa. The acquaintance introduced him to the young actress. 

Denny Harrington commended on her awesome performance. She thanked him. They started meeting more often. They had lunch together, they discussed almost everything under the sun, and in the course of time, found a liking to each other despite the odds.

Denny felt as if he had finally found his soul mate.  Elsa believed Denny was perfect for her. Finally she had met a man who would talk to her eyes rather than her bosoms. He represented the love of a husband, and the care of a father.

***

That morning

Denny had woken up to the lovely chirping of sparrows. Elsa was still asleep. He rose and opened the window panes. It was still spring, and his garden was full of those colorful flowers. Life was good. His maid Maggi brought in two mugs of steaming tea. 

Denny went near the bed and gently patted Elsa. She did not respond. He sat and started sipping his tea. He called out her name and shook her a bit. She did not respond. He patted her back, this time not so gently. She did not respond. 

Somewhere in the quiet of the night her lovely heart had stopped its rhythm. Residents of the town came pouring in to console Denny. The sun rose and shone brightly. All Denny could see was pitch darkness.

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