Chrysanthemums for Kay by Cindy Pereira

Terry, the gardener, sat upon the old, shiny seat, a bunch of pink chrysanthemums clutched between white knuckles.

He waited for Kay, ninety, small, frail, feeble and delicate. After her children had dumped her with the nuns, she had withdrawn into herself; rarely spoke and never smiled.

He had been captivated by her. Her little face and deep eyes reminded him of the mother he had lost a few years before. Often, he’d hunker down beside her, holding her small hands between his big, calloused paws and just chat.

He had gently drawn her out - from total silence to a word or two. And finally, they had become fast friends.

“If I were 50 years older, I would have swept you off your feet,” he told her one day, placing a bunch of pink chrysanthemums between her fingers.

“You would have collapsed just trying,” she answered..

“But I would have tried,” Terry replied. “Now, the nuns say you’re quite the dancer. How about I take you for a little do next Sunday, hmm?”

She had looked deeply into his eyes. Perhaps the old have a way of reading your inner most intentions, Terry now thought.

“Will you go with me?” he had then boldly asked, and noting a slow nod, crooned light-heartedly:

“Don’t let me down.”

When Sunday came and he had polished his old, battered car, he dressed smartly and whiffing of cologne,  drove to the home to pick her up. He knelt down beside her chair and thought that she had dozed off in anticipation, because there was a soft smile on her pale, old face.

A first!

Now he felt numb and empty, but the pink chrysanthemums were as vibrant as ever. Then he turned and rose as they silently wheeled her coffin into the chapel.

Selected: Weekly Write Week #14
Published in Issue #29

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