A woman has just died in a car accident (her husband, Win, was the driver), and is getting help figuring it out:
There's always a moment in downloading high-rez graphics when the last few bytes finally arrive and the blurry photo you've been staring at is, all at once, sharp and detailed. That's what it's like right now--the day's events downloaded in crisp detail: the flood of menstrual blood, of my tears, Win holding me, soft while I cry ... then arguing, driving to see the doctor ...
then flying above the car, watching rescue workers wrench apart a pile of crushed metal and load a sheet-covered body into an ambulance.
"Oh my God! We crashed, didn't we? And Win...he...he died. Didn't he?" Suddenly I'm grateful for this odd little man in gray who puts his arms around me.
"No, my dear. Win was not the one who died."
"Don't lie to me," I mumble into his suit coat. I'm sobbing harder, wonder for a fleeting second if my tears are ruining his jacket.
He leans back, but keeps his fingertips on my shoulders. "See? No tear stains."
I'm startled out of my sobs--it's like he read my mind. I look at his suit. It's as rumpled as ever, but not a wet spot anywhere. His words echo back to me: Win was not the one who died. Meaning someone else died.
He touches the brim of his fedora and makes an old-fashioned bow, then sweeps his hand out to me.
I don't take his hand. "Are you trying to say it's me who died?"
He smiles and nods.