Henry stepped back from the granite headstone, dropped the chisel onto the table and brushing the sweat from his brow with a dusty piece of linen ran his gnarled and knobbly fingers through the soaked grey strands of hair forcing them back onto his head. With tears forming in his eyes he silently read the words WHY GOD DO YOU TAKE YOUR MOST BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS FIRST? that he had painstakingly carved into the stone. This monument would soon grace a shady spot under his favourite weeping willow tree, the final resting spot of his beloved best friend and lifelong four legged companion.
Rocking back and forth in his favourite chair, the treads squeaked against the rough grain of the old oak hewn floors of his log cabin deep in the Michigan woods. He felt at peace as the warm memories of past adventures with Gracie flooded through his consciousness. A wriggling bundle of warm fur, eyes searching, ears twitching and tongue lolling Gracie as a pup was always on the ready for a new adventure. They had explored together every season, winters crisp packed snow, springs new growth, summers heat and slowness and the rich colours of autumn foliage that graced the skyline of his mountain home.
He too was old, he could feel the heaviness in his limbs, his muscles in a slow decay, his skin a delicate parchment etched with thousands of crisscrossing lines a testament to a hard lived life. Gracie had gone, he knew he would soon follow. The headstone would do well for both of them.