Short Story Preview: Sky Lady
Eva had been aware, as the date approached, that her mother died in the hospice a few weeks before reaching this particular birthday. And after that, her dad’s heart didn’t bother to last another year. “Grateful”: the word filled Eva’s head, warming through the fuzz as she woke to early sunshine. And not just grateful to the hospice, although this particular Friday she was glad the other volunteers had ganged up to insist on covering her shift. She’d made it to seventy. Of course these days that was nothing; look at Helen Mirren, still what people called a sex bomb – although that was something Eva had never been, thank God. Life had always had enough challenges.
In a carefully worded email, sent to everyone she truly loved or liked very thoroughly, she’d given notice weeks earlier of the way she wanted to celebrate. The schedule began with breakfast on offer from eight till ten, ideally in her little garden. Of the four possible guests, two were definitely the remote kind. But she’d better get cracking. Not that she was offering eggs these days. This will be vegan, she’d pointed out in italics – scaring off a few. Whatever people chose to do, Eva hoped they’d come out of love or not at all, and compliantly minus gifts. Her wording had expressed regret for too much consuming and a desire – also a need – to tread lightly on the earth. Rising from bed, she pulled up the blind and looked down on the staple-shaped border rimming the fence. The last roses were shedding but the sweet peas were at their delicate best, their fragrance just as heady.
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