I can’t stop looking at the vase. I was silly to get it out this year. Its loud emptiness is worse than not seeing it at all.
If I’d known last year, I wouldn’t have been so casual about throwing away the flowers. I would have pressed them on to card, covered them with cellophane, sealed them forever.
The breeze blows the curtains and they tickle my arms. I turn my face to the window, the sun hot through the glass.
I worried about this house being too secluded once, too remote. But he was a country boy, convinced me it was a good idea. He was right. We have been happy. And at least I don’t have to worry about the neighbours judging him now.
My eyes fill with tears as I watch him out there. Completely naked, rolling down the grassy slope in the garden, shrieking like a little boy. I’m worried he is going to break something, but he never seems too. His mind thinks he is young so his body agrees, I guess.
My heart is a stone in my chest, my throat contracting. I want to scream at him to ‘Stop it! Just Stop! Come back to me.’
He’s just rolled down the hill again. He’s picked a dandelion clock, blown it and the bits have flown back in his face. He is finding this very funny.
My tummy feels strange now, deep inside. It is bubbling. Suddenly, I find that I am giggling. It’s coming out in stifled little bursts. I put my hand to my mouth to stop it, keep it in.
Then, I change my mind.
I take off my clothes. All of them. I run out of the room, out the back door and in to the garden. He watches me. I lie on top of the grassy slope and he climbs up to join me. He grabs my hands. 1,2,3 and we roll down.
We are laughing. He is looking at me. He picks a dandelion.
By Beth Hicks