The scent of snowdrops

The road seems longer than when I last drove fast along its unexpected curves. I noticed then, how snowdrops had emerged, bent, as though in prayer. To breathe their lost and honeyed scent, you must kneel on the earth, close to their roots.

I had white gardenias at my wedding. Creamed and syrupy, they overfilled bouquets and buttonholes. ‘These bloody flowers,’ said Thomas, my about to be husband, ‘these flowers are….’ The flowers made him sneeze and he sneezed throughout the day. Stella, my sister and matron of honour, dispensed tissues with precision, and caught my bouquet on cue. ‘Just need a man now’ my father bellowed. ‘Love,’ he quipped ‘is like murder, you need motive and opportunity’.

With no room for the others, in here with me, I think of the road ahead and other drives with Thomas. In transit, towards the optimistic greens and blues of field and sea, we plotted our destiny and gave no thought for the journey back.

The winding road stops sharp in front of the church. Snowdrops have found their way here and file quietly around the churchyard like late mourners. Cars crunch on to the drive and doors slam. Thomas comes over to the car and opens the tailgate. ‘These bloody flowers are….’He starts to sneeze as he moves wreaths of white gardenias and helps lift my coffin from the hearse. I can hear Stella’s heels on the gravel as she rushes to his rescue with tissues.

Longlisted for the 2006 Fish One Page Short Story Prize.