I first saw Isabelle on a rainy Wednesday night in April. I was leaving my local supermarket with fresh onions and some ice cream when she came in out from the cold. She looked drowned: her hair was drenched and wild and her clothes were soaked and sticking to her skin. This was no "dashing from the car" wet - this was "walking through the rain all the way from home" wet. I tried to keep my eyes on her face, and succeeded; mostly.
"You look wet," I said, for want of anything better to say, but wanting to say something.
Her look was adequate reply. She made a move up one of the isles.
I tried again, following her. "Look," I said, "can I offer you a lift home, when you're done in here."
She hesitated, so I pressed my advantage. "It'll save you walking in the rain," I said, "and you don't want to get your shopping wet, do you?"
I married Isabelle on a sunny Saturday morning that September. I stood beside her at the front of the church smiling proudly, happily - stupidly. She looked beautiful: her hair had taken the entire morning to attain a state of perfection, and her dressed fit her body like a glove. I tried to keep my eyes on her face, and succeeded; mostly.
I buried Isabelle on an overcast Thursday afternoon the next June. I stood by the grave, stunned. The coffin lid was closed: you couldn't look at her, in the state that her body was in. I tried to keep my eyes dry, and succeeded; mostly.