Sweet memories

She held the flowers under her father’s nose. ‘They’re from the garden dad. We still plant them each year just like you used to. In the bed at the edge of the patio. Remember?’
It was unlikely he would. Geoffrey Simms had been suffering from dementia for over two years. He sat slumped in the high-backed chair his chin rising and falling with the wheezing undulations of his chest.
The fragile fragrance of the sweet pea blooms skirmished with the odours of human waste and decay that pervaded the Sunnyvale Care home. Somewhere a patient cried out, the wail dampened as it travelled along the carpeted corridors. Jenny squeezed his hand, the skin as thin as paper. Fragments of memory assembled in her mind like a creased picture, her father tying the sweet pea stems to canes while she played with her dolls on the sun warmed paving slabs.
Her father gasped, dragged air into his lungs. ‘Your mum……’
‘Mum?’ Jenny was not sure what shocked her more. Her father talking or her father talking about her mother. She had left their home when Jenny was six years old. Ran off with another man they said. Jenny placed the white vase on the bedside cabinet. The scent of the sweet peas must have triggered a memory, she thought.
‘Dad. What about Mum?’ she asked with the care of a poacher tickling a trout. ‘Tell me about Mum.’
Feet padded softly in the corridor, a trolley rattled past the door. Somewhere a mobile phone trilled bird like.
‘Dad, please tell me tell me about my mum.’
His left eyelid flickered open, and a tear gathered in the corner of the rheumy eye. ‘She’s buried.’
‘Buried? Buried where, Dad?’
‘The patio. I buried her under the patio.’
In the cold silence the cheerful pastel petals seemed to mock her.

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