Les rêveries du retraité solitaire

Les rêveries du retraité solitaire

When the Flowers Bloomed

The yard behind the old house that they bought some forty years ago is a gentle upward slope. There is an old oak tree with a swing still hanging from one of its branches. Big rocks protrude among the grass and flowers. Since he likes gardening so much, there are a lot of flowers, all kinds of flowers. He always makes sure that when one type finishes blooming, others will take over.


They’re both retired. She was a nurse and he was a teacher. The kids are married with children and they don’t live too far. Even if she’s close to seventy-five years old, she’s still very active doing volunteer work at the hospital, taking all kinds of courses and attending lectures, walking with her friends and reading. His only passion is gardening. He watches TV shows on gardening. He borrows books from the library to learn how to plant and look after his flowers. He likes to experiment with new species to see how well they will do in the cold climate of the region where they live.


Last summer, he was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors said he had about six months to live. They didn’t change their habits. They just kept on living: he working in the garden and she going out to her activities. They didn’t talk much about his disease and what was coming. They just looked at each other and smiled. They saw their children and grandchildren almost every day during the summer, but when autumn came, they were more often alone. He spent a lot of time with his flowers, as if he was fighting to keep them alive as long as possible in spite of the cold.


He was admitted to the hospital a few weeks after Christmas and died peacefully at the end of Mach surrounded by his family. After the funeral, she spent a few weeks at her daughter’s because she didn’t want to be alone in the house. When she returned, she felt lonely and sad but at the same time peaceful. When she walked around the house, she could hear the floor squeak. She went to the dining room window and pulled the curtains open. There was still snow on the ground but flowers were blooming. She thought of how much her husband liked his flowers. And then she saw it.


He had planted the crocuses in such a way that when they would start blooming she would be able to see the bright purple letters of her name pushing through the snow.




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