• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 01

Between the Pages

She died last August. We found her wearing orange bed socks and a tiger-print flannel onesie. She looked happy, smiling, which made it easier for us — death is never a happy occasion, but she seemed happy about it. After the funeral, we cleared out her flat, gave her clothes to a charity shop along with that mink coat that shed all over the passenger seat of my car when I drove her to meet with the bank manager. It took me a full day with a lint roller and a DustBuster to depilate my car after that. But it was the bouquet of daffodils by her bed — those brought me to tears. It was probably the last thing she saw before she closed her eyes and fell asleep. Those faded flowers standing there in a green smear of water, stems cut at a thirsty angle. They were yellowed and transparent as the fragile skin stretched across her old hands — paper thin, like those hundreds of cigarette papers leftover after she quit rolling her own on her 85th birthday. She folded those squares of paper into origami pygmy swans. Hung them on the Christmas tree from red embroidery thread. I took one daffodil though, and pressed it between pages in one of her photo albums that I kept. Superstitious on my part probably, but I can’t bring myself to throw out any photographs.


It made the sky hurt
looking at those daffodils
cut down in their prime