She takes the tiny key from the chain around her neck and unlocks the box. Taking care not to damage the brittle paper of the letter, she places it gently on the bed and arranges the other contents of the box around it. The single rose has kept its’ colour but is so fragile a small piece of the stem breaks off and turns to dust in her hand. The badge is tarnished black now and the scrap of ribbon a pale washed pink.
As she does every year on this day, she unfolds the letter and reads it silently to herself, smiling with nostalgia and a lingering sadness after all these anniversaries, as she reaches the closing sentiments and the signature, “Yours forever, Robert”.
She can still see so clearly the lane they walked along on the first date of their courtship, the scent of the lilac from the cottage gardens following them on the early summer breeze. Mother and Father standing together in the doorway watching them, knowing smiles on their faces, as they turned the corner to walk through the churchyard, to the village green beyond. He had given her the rose on that very first walk, plucked it from the tumble of blooms scrambling over the vicarage wall and tucked it with gentle fingers into the braid around her hat. She had looked up at him shyly with shining eyes and there had been that one solitary kiss. So few words had passed between them and yet their understanding had been complete.
She picks up the brass shell casing and shudders as she always does at the coldness of it, a vile souvenir thrown at her in a moment of glassy-eyed madness by her brother Peter, returned to them at last at the end of the war, minus an arm and his soul.
A knock on the wall from the room next door disturbs her thoughts and she hears her mother calling, “Can you come and help me Jeanie?”
She slowly folds the letter, ties it with the ribbon and replaces it carefully in the box next to the rose, and the casing.
“Coming mother!” she calls, gently pushing the drawer closed and turning the key.
The rules of the challenge are to post 5 posts over consecutive days, attaching a story to the photo, fiction, non fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day inviting a fellow blogger to join the challenge, I wanted to invite the splendid shpics to join the fun today but reckon he’s away, anyway there’s no obligation!
ALL PHOTOS © JANE MORLEY