The grey headstone of J.T. Bradfield stood gleaming and new in the cemetery, with only a solitary bluebell for company. In his two weeks as a corpse J.T. Bradfield had received no visitors, no mourners. Nobody had even stopped to read the words on his headstone. Soon it would be as though his 92 years on earth had never even happened. Well, he was a grumpy old so-and-so after all. He certainly wouldn’t be missed.
Two weeks earlier, in a small village bungalow, Jim Bradfield made himself a cup of tea and settled into his favourite seat by the window.
Noticing that the rim of his cup was chipped, Jim slowly placed it down on his knee and attempted to turn it around. But his hands were frail and clumsy and the cup slid from his grip, sending hot tea gushing across the worn carpet. Jim accosted himself for his stupidity, and felt grateful that Elizabeth was no longer here to see what a frail old man her husband had withered into.
Shaking, he wiped up the mess with a tea towel and rinsed his cup. He didn’t have the energy to make another, so decided instead to go for a sit down on his garden bench. The bluebells were out. It was Elizabeth’s favourite time of year.
Through his half closed eyes Jim looked down at the patch of bluebells at his feet, and remembered Elizabeth lying there, smiling gently at him as she had done all those years ago. She reminded him of Ophelia, lying in her cotton dress on the dewy ground. Overcome by memories of her scent and a sudden, heavy sorrow, he slowly closed his eyes as a tear crept warily down his age-speckled cheek.
On a distant hillside, a single brown leaf let go of its branch. And, lifted by a friendly breeze, it glided softly to lay silently amongst the bluebells beneath. Nobody saw it happen. And life went on.
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