Matthias Becker had almost made it to the front door when his wife confronted him.

“Who are those flowers for?” she asked. Without allowing space for an answer, she continued. “Matthias, are you seeing someone?”

Her husband laughed. “Anke, I’m seventy years old. I’ve hair where it shouldn’t be and none where it should and I’ve got enough extra skin to make a small child with some left over. I’m not rich enough to be seeing anyone like this.”

“Then who are the flowers for?” Anke pressed.

She was getting to be like this more and more often, always suspicious and full of questions. “They’re for my father.”

“That’s awfully sentimental of you,” Anke said grudgingly. “Stop at the Edeka for some coffee on your way back.”

The handful of tulips from Matthias’ garden looked lovely in front of Uwe Becker’s headstone; his son couldn’t remember the last time he’d come to visit or gone to a service in the chapel in the distance.

“Surprised to see me, eh Father?” Matthias said. “I admit, I haven’t been by much, and I’m sorry. You remember how Anke and the boys and I used to come by after the mass, don’t you? No mass, and the idea just sort of slips our mind.”

The granite didn’t reply, of course, but Matthias envisioned his father seated behind it, semitransparent, silent and thoughtful. Not the husk that lung cancer had claimed in 1977, either, but rather the barrel-chested man that had always swept his only son onto his shoulders, even when the boy had outgrown it.

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