The first time I ever rode in a limousine was the day of my husband’s funeral. I felt it was a fitting send-off for the most miserly, dried-up scrounge in the country.
Our daughter didn’t join me. I rang her the day he died and told her “Marie, your father has died.” “Good”, she said, and hung up. I did not press the matter.
But I do think she would have relished the plushness of the limo. It was so warm inside, and the seat was so cushiony! I stretched my legs out in front of me as far as I could reach without falling off the seat, and settled back into its softness. The town looked so different through the tinted windows, exotic or glamorous, almost.
Or maybe I was just seeing things in a different light. When Peter had died (a sudden brain hemorrhage had killed him instantly – he had been in the middle of totting up his receipts for that week. Removing the calculator from his hand after the rigor mortis had set in had been beyond me. I wondered if it was in the coffin with him.), when he died, I had been so concerned about how I would pay for the funeral. He had always emphasized how poor we were, and how we needed to watch the pennies. In our shared bank account, there was barely enough money to cover this month’s expenses. I had no idea how I would manage the following month.
But then my husband’s accountant called around to pay his respects. He also handed over some bank cards and account details that Peter had instructed to be given to me if he died suddenly. The accountant seemed very eager to retain me as a customer.
I only realized why after I logged onto the online bank account. The size of the balance had shocked me – I had never seen figures that big outside a news report. I thought of the decades of scrimping and saving I had done – buying discounted vegetables, avoiding meat, never eating outside the house, digging through bargain bins to replace threadworn clothes. And worse, how Marie had cried herself to sleep the night she should have been at her prom, how she had put herself through university after her father had refused to give her any help.
That was when I picked up the phone to book the limousine. It was also booked for two weeks’ time for the reading of the will. I was going to go and pick up Marie, and we were going to the solicitor’s office to find out how many millions ‘poor’ Peter had managed to squirrel away during his wasted life. Then we would dedicate our lives to spending this money, and dying poor, happy and sated.
Life looks good through tinted windows.