Angela sat so close to Tony. He had his eyes closed. He looked so much older now. The deep wrinkles had taken hold of his cheeks. His smile seemed to be permanently engrained on his face. He had a lot more gray now. It suited him.
So much time had passed and yet that day in the Tunnel of Love seemed like just yesterday. Life had been good in the Bower-Micelli household. How many kisses had they enjoyed? How many quiet intimate moments had they shared since their wonderful wedding night? They had taken love by the reins and gone at full speed. The seven years they had spent finding their way to love now just seemed like a raindrop in the ocean.
"How I wish Mother was here." Mona had been gone for several years now. Angela had a little quiet giggle as she remembered her funeral. Mona, being the woman that she was, didn't want any ordinary service. She wanted to have a "wake" at Sigma Gamma Epsilon for all the men in her little black book. Funny thing was she had lived her life so fully that she had outlived almost all of them. It had only ended up being immediate family, Ernie (the water man) and about 40 college-aged guys. It still made Angela laugh to think that even each of these boys had a story to tell.
Angela looked down and realized she still had Tony's hand in hers. Those hands were the few things about Tony that really did look their age. How worn they were, calloused and spotted with age. His fingers were so long and wrinkled. She softly ran her finger over every wrinkle and knuckle.
Angela closed her eyes as she slowly brushed his hand across her face. Even now she couldn't help but get a little choked up at the memories that flooded in. The flour they'd thrown. The papers he had graded. The slaps they'd given each other trying to keep away mosquitoes in the hotel. The day at their wedding, when he had taken her hand in his and had placed the simple band on her finger. She thought of how he had carried so many of his grandchildren when they were too tired to walk. He had brushed their cheeks with his fingers, the first time he had held each of them. Even in his eighties, he was still out changing Sam's oil or giving Jonathan help on the fixer upper he'd bought for his family.
Looking down at his hands, she had to admit they were her favorite thing about him. They, along with him, had been strong when she needed them to be and soft and gentle, at times too. She gave his hand a good squeeze and carefully brought it up to her face to kiss it.
Jonathan and his wife, Elena, an Italian beauty, quietly entered the room. After a minute or two, he softly tapped Angela's shoulder. "Mom, are you ready?"
"Yes," she said as a tear trickled down her cheek. It had been one of many that had fallen that day. She took her Kleenex and softly wiped her face. "Will you help me stand up?"
Elena folded up the foot rests on Angela's wheelchair, while Jonathan helped to lift her to her feet.
"He looks so handsome." She lovingly took the hand she had been holding and slowly placed it on top of his other one. Ever so gingerly, she leaned down and kissed him. How many kisses had that been? She struggle to put a number with the moment and then, resolve that it would never be the last one.
Jonathan helped her back into her chair. She brought her fingers to her lips and kissed them. She brushed the kissed fingers back on his hands.
"I'll see you soon, sweetheart," she said as Jonathan wheeled her out of the room. There had been a man and a woman standing in the corner, who had been quietly watching this loving exchange. They watched as the director walked over to Tony got him for the service and closed the lid.
"Do you think she'll be okay, Mona?" Tony said. He was standing dressed in all white looking like he was 28 again.
"Of course she will," said Mona dressed in a sexy red dress. "She takes after you." She said with a smile.
Together, arm in arm the disappeared out the door.