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Last Bloom (Short Story)

It was not the same way Daphne used to roll around in the grass with her kids. It was quick and unexpected.

Her kids had warned her about this house. Daphne remembered that now and tried to smile. Her adult son, Stephen, had warned her that the big oak tree in the back yard, not metres away from the wall, could prove dangerous. It was probably some naïve guy back in the day who didn’t think about how stupid it was having a tree this close to the wall in the backyard with the N1 highway parallel to it and the sports field two houses away.

And that’s exactly how it happened. She was bent over a bush when they hit her on the back of the head. I never even heard them come over the wall. Blood dribbled from her head as she lay there, smelling the earth, rich and dark. She was now between small bushes, lavender and rosemary, tomatoes not too far off. Green, purple buds, red bulbs with green crowns, she smiled and tried to laugh.

This was how her children used to describe the plants when she tried teaching them the names. After her husband Peter left her, she spent more time in the backyard and tended to the kids and her plants.

Oh sherbert, I wonder if they are still here! They probably took what they wanted to and left. I hope that Stephen doesn’t come to visit now. Observatory is so far for him to drive. I told him I’m ok and he shouldn’t worry with me.

She saw Maria next to her face, saying “Mommy what are you doing? Why are you crying?” It was the incredulous and impatient tone of a child. She used to spend hours in the garden, so the children wouldn’t see her tears. She cried into the pepper plants, feeding them with her tears. She would make up a story about how the onions were making her cry just like when she would chop them in the kitchen and Maria would laugh and chase the birds.

One of them landed next to her now. She always wished she had learned the names. It was tiny and brown, speckled with a little yellow stripe on its back. It hopped once, twice and once more before it flew away, the air barely yielding to its small body and strong wings. She watched it go as it left her there.

Daphne was sure that the men were gone by now. She hoped so at least. She was feeling tired, but didn’t yawn. She felt the cooling sun on her face as she tried to take one big breath.

Her eyes stretched as far as they could in her face and tried to take in everything around her one last time. The way the wall tried to contain it all, but all the plants were always wild and needed taming. She spoke to them like she was their mother. She cut them down to size like a teacher.

She looked past the plants at the house. It was not too far away, she could see it from where she was lying. She felt drowsy. As her eyes closed, she knew that there was nowhere else she would rather be.

 

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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