“Might you slow down, I’m nervous rushing in this weather.” Jane hiccupped and hugged herself. “We’ve already had one dreadful start to the summer.”
Billie gunned the accelerator. The Dodge van lurched over the line. Whoosh the wipers dashed stubborn rain aside. Bloated, slate-gray clouds gushed water like a busted dam.
“What’s the matter, don’t you trust my driving?” Billie lifted an over-plucked eyebrow as she glanced at her friend. “Should have been there twenty minutes ago. We’re late.”
Jane tucked whispy hair behind her ear and didn’t respond at first. “At least the traffic’s light. I’d rather be late than dead.”
“Why the hell did her husband buy her that motorcycle?” Jane stared through the sluicing windshield and bit her lip.
“Yeah, only one ride and gone at fifty-three. My God! Two young adults, motherless. Life’s unfair. I can’t imagine how her husband feels.” Billie’s tears slid down her creased cheeks.
Silence sank like a sodden blanket between the two sixty-something women. The driver gripped the steering wheel. Silver-streaked, once black hair stuck to her forehead. Eyes intent behind thick glasses, she frowned at the deluge. Although the wipers were in high gear, the windows fogged up. Billie cranked on the defogger and let up on the accelerator. The slosh of tires on the wet asphalt changed rhythm and slackened to a softer splatter.
“I hate funerals, especially this one, not that I’ve been to many.” Billie cleared her throat. “Sue was always there for me, you know. I ran away from home—before I met you? Sue’s family took me in and Mom was madder than a dragon spewing fire. We didn’t know them well then.”
Jane closed her eyes and nodded. Sitting straighter, she breathed deep and hard. “How did this happen? The road was dry and the day clear.” Chin to chest, she sighed. “Sue was such a live-wire. Into everything—how long did you live with them again?” She massaged white knuckles, first one hand and then the other.
“Almost six months. We were both twelve.” Billie hesitated. “We became tight as Siamese twins. Soon after I agreed to move back home, her father changed jobs. They packed up and moved to Vancouver. Even Mom was sad to see them leave.”
The rain slowed to a fine mist and the humidity dropped inside the van. Both women concentrated on the road. Jane pointed to the exit, “Turn right on Wellington here and then left on Riddell. “Geez, this lot is packed.” She leaned into the backseat to grab an umbrella.
Billie swallowed and blinked away threatening tears. “Can’t wait to get this over.” They snaked up and down three aisles before they spied a parking spot. “By the looks of it, the chapel will be standing room only. Lord give me strength.”