The phone call came as I was on my way home from work. I'd just got off the bus and I didn't so much hear the phone, as feel it vibrating in the bottom of my handbag. I remember scrabbling around to find it. I was sure it was him you see, Jake, ringing to say they were setting off for home. I know that doesn't make sense - it's the Army, not the bloody Boy Scouts. But anyway, it might have been him, that thought was always at the back of my mind in those days, every time the phone rang.
I never thought it would be bad news. Never. Stupid, really. I never thought it could happen to him.
I don't remember much after that. Bits of sentences, words, letters.
Everything blown apart.
It's been a year now. A year to the day that we buried him.
At first his mum used to come to the cemetery with me, every Sunday. Fresh flowers, every week. But after a while, she stopped. I don't understand that. How could she leave him there? All alone like that?
We never got on, not really and we don't speak now.
"You need to move on, Laura," she said, the last time I saw her, "Let Jake rest in peace and move on."
But I can't. I don't want to forget him, I want him back.
I'm here every day. Where else should I be?
Sometimes I sit on the grass and talk to him. Sometimes I lie down and press my face into the earth, breathing in its scent, willing him to come back to me.
I ache for him.
The hedge is thick with May blossom but it's a cold, grey day and I am lying beside Jake, my head on the turf that covers his grave and I'm thinking about the first time he kissed me. The warmth of him. The breath of him.
I close my eyes and he’s there, just out of reach.
Rest in peace. What does that mean anyway? There was nothing peaceful about Jake's death and I don't want him to rest.
I can’t rest without him.
I shiver, I should go home but I can’t move. Not while he's there. Alone.
They wouldn't let me see him, when they brought him back. Better to remember him how he was, they said. But all I want now is to see him one more time. To place my hand on his face. To kiss him, just once more, even if his lips are cold.
Not long now, I know.
He said he would come back.
This grave won’t hold him, not my Jake, not for much longer, and I’ll be here.
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