Rebecca was late, but she came. She went into the supportive friend routine that always looked, on her, like an ill-fitting dress just back from the cleaners, but Cathy didn't mind. She'd spent so much time ignoring the things she didn't love about the people she did, it was nice to look at them and see: Just them.
"It's hard to be sad when every five minutes someone wins $20 in a scratch-off," Cathy smiled, and Rebecca sighed a quiet laugh. "It's quite an affair," she said, Sean watching them from behind a stone. "I am so glad it's a closed casket. My grandpa had an open casket and I have this recurring dream now about his death face trying to kiss me..." Rebecca spotted Sean and came for him, in her stilettos on the grass, but he ran. She called his name, arms spread wide, horrified. But he kept running.
The daughters didn't love her, when they met her. She said her name and their faces settled into wariness. She was the daughter Marlene would never let them be. They had no idea how hard Cathy worked, to get inside that house. Barging in, for weeks, to curse at Marlene or bring her gifts, to take her places and have drinks with her. Becoming friends, with a single-mindedness they don't understand yet.
Lorna was taller and more severe; Gina was shorter, with a wife named Buttercup. The wife smiled, spacey, and told Cathy her hair was like a waterfall. They seemed like nice women, all together. Hard and a little unhappy. But Marlene seemed the same way, for a long time. Until she learned to love her.
"Your mom, she talked about you all the time. She was so proud of the two of you!"
The daughters smiled mordantly; she was talking Cathy language to Marlene people. They shook their heads. "Mom was a lot of things, but she was not proud." When Gina would call she'd say, "Hey, Bulldyke! How are things in Atlanta?" And for twenty-five years Marlene called Lorna's Jewish husband "That white witch you live with." Cathy nodded: "So we are talking about the same Marlene." They liked her a bit more, after that.