Psychopomp Magazine Summer 2015 - Page 10

10 | Psychopomp Magazine

Charlie, by my side in an instant, inquired after my health.

He said, Maria, you look blooming.

Yes, Charlie, I replied. Now you are a part of me.

We were wed the following December, after an extravagant engagement, vast purchases, and the defeat of several lingering dervishes. Dot officiated, and my mother and Charlie’s both said they had hoped all along we would make the match. Baby Grace, who had never recovered from being tied and pulled by Charlie, un-coraled her lips and looked harrowed that it was I and not she joining the ranks of married sisters and taking the ancient name, Habsburg.

The entire wedding was an exercise in certainty and manners, the result of so much breeding in our small city. The honeymoon found us—Mr. and Mrs. Habsburg!—cruising the Baltic.

Charlie died heirless during his thirty-ninth year, and his kidney inside me has troubled with infection since. I kept my promises, and the kidney is the only incident I do not regret, for I have placed all my trust in it, and there has never been another winter like that of my courtship, that of 19--. ♦