A Short Story: 'Gladiolus And Lemongrass'

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"Gladiolus and lemongrass." The old woman replied in answer to my question about what she most remembered about finding her husband dead in his study. "I 'm sorry?" I paused in my note taking, uncertain she had heard me correctly. For an instant I thought I was witness to her initial stages of senility. "Gladiolus and lemongrass." She turned and looked at me for the first time in a while, retrieving her stare from out the window beyond which lay her Monet-like gardens. My next thought was that she was referring to something outside, perhaps wanting to change the subject. Perhaps choosing not to return to that particular place and time. I was about to question that when she clarified for me. "That is what I most remember." "Gladiolus and lemongrass?" What struck me so about this old woman was her childlike voice. Time had taken its unashamed toll on her physically -- she appeared to be little more than paper maché -- but her mind, and her voice with its wind chime laughter had escaped the time…show more content…
There were photos of him though. Alone and with her. On the piano, on the mantle, on the table near her iced tea. They had been very much in love. "Do you play the piano?" I asked her, since the door to the keys was raised, leaving them exposed. Waiting. "Oh dear lord no! He was the creative one in every way." Again the chiming laugh up the scale and back again. "Well, I could play a pretty mean chopsticks." We shared a laugh together. It was a stunningly profound moment in its lightness. Inconsequential, and yet I would never find a way to thank her for it. The afternoon had grown comfortably warm, and with the heat came a rising mix of scents. Powder, lineament, and just a gentle whisper of lilac. An whisper that would swell momentarily if a breeze blew in through the window. She would breathe deeply each time it did, as though it was that very scent that sustained her
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