24 Aug


arbour photo: arbour DSC00002.jpgIt had been the perfect life. At least, the last few years of it had been. Jenny-May knew that, and so did Terrence Sparks. They had met in their middle years, almost by accident if the truth were to be told, and had gelled together so well it seemed, to friends, that they had always been together.

And the years had passed as years do.

Leading to this afternoon on this day, sitting in this arbour under this sun, smiling and whispering and being the two they had been for their perfect lives together.

And Tommy and Hilda had come by. Tommy was his son (from a previous marriage that had been nothing like as perfect) and Hilda was the love of Tommy’s life. Tommy and Hilda called fairly often, though not as often as they might. After all, they had lives of their own to lead. Terrence explained this to Jenny-May and Jenny-May thought she understood.

“Have a sweet, sir,” smiled Hilda, proffering a plastic bag of brightly coloured delights. “And you, Jenny-May,” she had added with the sweetest smile.

And Terrence and Jenny-May took a sweet each and smiled and cooed and sucked the sweetness from the confection. They were lovely sweets, orange flavoured (which Terrence preferred whilst Jenny-May merely liked, and they sat back in the sun and it beamed its warmth on them.

“You look happy, dad,” murmured Tommy.

“We are,” sighed Terrence, and it was the truth. He had never felt happier, having the love of his life right next to him under the sun in their floral bower and his son, the fruit of his past loins right there with him. “This is the very best of life,” he added, “having you here, son, with your lovely Hilda – and my darling Jenny-May to make things perfect. And the flowers all around us, the fragrant blooms, those roses by the archway, the grass beneath our chairs, everything so perfect I could almost weep with the joy of living…”

“I’m so pleased, dad,” murmured Tommy, casting a momentary glance at Hilda.

Then the two younger people left, having, as Terrence knew, their own lives to live, their own things to do and their own plans to make.

“Those were strange sweets,” whispered Jenny-May, thoughtfully.

“Orange,” sighed Terrence. “They know how much I like orange sweets.”

“Happiness is,” sighed Jenny-May, and she leaned towards Terrence and laid her head on his shoulder. “I love you,” she whispered.

“And I love you,” replied Terrence, because he did and no matter how many times he said it he knew that it simply had to be said one more time. Then he moved his head round, and kissed her gently on the cheek.

“I’m so tired,” whispered Jenny-May. “It must be the heat, under the sun, on this lovely day.”

“Come to me,” sighed Terence, “Rest your head on me, my sweetness. And together we may doze off, don’t you think? Together, under the sun, shaded by the old plum tree – we may get some shut-eye.”

She snuggled into him and rested one hand on his knee. Then she closed her eyes and let the glorious day flow over her, the bright sun grow dark as a shadow from inside her covered it up. And Terrence snuggled into her and rested one hand on her knee and did likewise.

“I love you,” he whispered, and the bright sun dimmed for him as it had dimmed for her.

And they rested, touched each other as the sun slowly went down, skin on skin, cold skin on cold skin, together. And they were still. Still like the dead are still, though the warm rays of a black sun still bathed them and its radiance shimmered in their fragrant arbour and touched, briefly, the departure of their perfect life.

Meanwhile, on the street outside Tommy held his Hilda by one hand.

“I guess they were nice sweets,” he said, squeezing her fingers.

“Delicious,” she replied, “And undetectably toxic….”

© Peter Rogerson 24.08.15


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