The Invisible Man

Laurentia Galindo is not sad to have left Cheshire and Cranford. Manchester is larger, stranger and different, but she welcomes the change, though it does not help her forget. Sometimes, she fancies she is still with him, whether he is yelling, smiling or concentrating and she cherishes those daydreams that cruelly return each time she remembers life back there. She can no longer call it home. It ceased to be her home when he died, though she would not have known it before.

Sometimes, when the days are cold and she hears noises outside, she fancies that she is not just waiting for Harry to return home from school. She imagined that Mr. Carter would walk in the door, with his familiar look of annoyance plastered on his face, and possibly a bunch of flowers in hand. Oh goodness, how she longed to touch that hand once more as she had on his deathbed as he signed that name, Edmund.

Sighing, Laurentia looks out the window, setting down her needle as she remembers Harry's words from months earlier, after the unfortunate accident at the railway. "He only ever smiled at two people." Tears spring to her eyes as she thinks of those rare smiles. Rain falls steadily, and she thinks only of him - a moment or two of weakness, before she has to be brave for Harry.

In many was, she thinks of Harry as her and Mr. Carter's son. She thinks that had he lived, he would feel the same way. She hears the approach of Harry down the hall and wipes her eyes hastily, picking up her needle once more as the young lad enters the room. "Miss Galindo! You're pale!" he exclaims, and she smiles weakly as he strides over to her chair (he has a stride like that of Mr. Carter. She thinks he does it on purpose) and kneels next to her. "You've been thinking of him again."

"Of who, Harry?" she asks absently, brushing a strand of her hair away from her tired brown eyes.

"Mr. Carter. You do it alot, lately. I think you must be angry at him, for making you stay with me," Harry says sadly, his eyes honest as he frowns up at her.

In a rare moment of tenderness, she places a hand on Harry's cheek and smooths back his hair. "I am not angry at Mr. Carter, nor am I angry at you."

"Than why are you crying, Miss?" he asks, and she sighs, knowing that only one answer will suffice.

"You will remember Harry, I am sure, that I spoke very highly of Mr. Carter?"

"Yes, but I don't-"

"I cry, Harry, only because I miss him very much," Laurentia told him, her voice soft and her gaze wandering to the window. "I loved him, and I miss him."

Harry is silent for a moment, contemplating the man whom he is very sure loved Miss Galindo as well and says, "I think he loved you too, Miss."

That thought alone makes the milliner smile, and she knows that even thought Mr. Carter is not there, they can both feel him in the room. She closes her eyes for a moment and tries to picture Edmund standing in the scene, and the image comes within seconds. The two people he smiled at would hold his attention, and he would be smiling once more.

Sometimes, she fancies that he really did love her after all.