Gazing right ahead of himself, Tom listened to the words of the pastor, who began ending the ceremony after a good hour. Unless the strictly necessary he hadn't actually said a word since his mother had passed on. The funeral he had taken care of alone, like he hoped that his mother would have wanted it.
The church was quite full, Tom noticed as he lethargically rose off his chair and turned to follow the dark coffin of his mother outside. A lot of familiar faces met him, but there were at least as many unfamiliar ones. He then looked down. He couldn't deal with the gazes that continued following him outside. He could already hear them say it, 'Tommie Segers with his ever so big mouth who even didn't cry one tear for his mother.'
The tears had certainly been there, but sometimes… sometimes it stops, even though there's still that pain inside. Sometimes you just cannot cry anymore, and there are no more tears left. Even Tommie Segers could feel sadness. Maybe he hadn't really shown it well at all times, but he had loved his mother, more even than he himself would ever have thought. Maybe it was a little cliché to say, but it was a truth like no other: sometimes you only realize the worth of something or someone when it isn't there anymore.
That day was a truly beautiful day; the sun shone in Tom's eyes as the doors of the church were being opened, and he eventually looked up. The rays of sunshine blinded him for a few seconds, and he turned his head to counter direct contact and looked in ocean blue. The rays of sunshine that shone upon her face together with the somewhat milder lines on her face made Dani Wouters look like an angel at that moment. The rest of his colleagues was there too, but he couldn't avert his eyes off of her. They momentarily held the other's gaze then, a special moment between them both taking place. Neither could describe it, but something had happened between them. And they both could feel it.
"Tom?" He would have recognized that voice anywhere. "Sorry that I can't stay longer. I truly find it very sad what happened to your mother, but Maxim and I..."
Tom nodded. No venomous commentary about her and her boyfriend. Underneath that hard exterior beat a good heart, and Dani again knew why she loved him – and yes, that was something she still did, Maxim or not.
"Thank you," he said, already turning once again.
"Tom!" He wearily turned himself half back again and felt her arms around his neck. He just couldn't do anything else but wrap his around her, and there they stood on the graveyard by the grave of his mother. The others had already begun walking on in the direction of the room where the coffee would be. They never would have gotten it either way.
He inhaled her scent again: the one he only associated with Dani… the scent that was purely Dani. "I still love you so much," he whispered, hiding his face in her shoulder.
"And I you."