Sunday, 7 October 2007

FORGET-ME-NOTS by Dave Wellings

(August's assignment was set by Gloria who selected an opening sentence onto which we must add our own 500 or so words to create a work of either fiction or non-fiction. The opening sentence reads:
"The lot of us met on Saturday afternoon as arranged.")

The lot of us met on Saturday afternoon as arranged. The regulars, the ones who cared enough to bring a bunch of flowers.

“Nothing flashy,” The Colonel had insisted, “We don’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention.” In The Colonel’s mind there was more stigma attached to flashiness than to sexually-transmitted disease, He wasn’t actually a colonel: he’d been pensioned off from the army with the rank of captain but he did little to discourage the use of his nickname.

Jason’s bouquet was what The Colonel probably had in mind – large showy red tulips which clashed with his maroon and gold scarf. It was windy up on the hillside overlooking the town but a football scarf and beanie looked out of place at a graveside. Jason was on his way to a match and was too young and gauche to consider such things.

Norman wore a beige cardigan under his navy blazer and he raised his brown trilby hat in respect as he placed his tasteful violas on the grave.

“It was her greatest fear, that she would be forgotten, that her life had meant nothing more than a few moments of gratification to those of us in need.”

“It was more than that,” said Graham who, like most of us, was on the wrong side of middle-age. “It was a useful life; she was a caring woman, a compassionate woman.”

“And a good listener,” added Ted who had missed having anyone to listen to him since his wife had died five years earlier.

Jason looked up, puzzled perhaps at the revelation. “I never…Some of us…It’s not always…I never know what to say to girls. She gave me my first – experience.”

We all nodded; we had our own reasons for knowing her and out reasons for regretting her passing, quite suddenly, a brain tumour, twelve months to the day.

With his need for military order, The Colonel arranged the flowers, tall tulips at the rear and the others in descending order of size to form one poignant tribute. The he stepped back, stood briefly to attention and spoke for us all: “Gone – but not forgotten.”

Dave Wellings ©

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