Saturday 6 June 2020

Debut Fiction: 'Chocolate Canes and Parchment Planes' by Leah Coyle

The love of my life always had a way of surprising me.

I gifted him the chocolate-colored oak cane on his 81st birthday. It matched his warm, almond brown eyes. His gentle hands caressed the polished wood as he began to chuckle.

“How old do you think I am?” he said with a sly smile.

It was about time that he had some proper support since he entered retirement. Personally, I felt unready to retire. I worked at a florist shop just two blocks away. I loved to be there as it reminded me of home, of Ma’s garden in Georgia, and her beautiful yellow daffodils. Daffodils brought a joy that only he could bring otherwise.

“You are my divine daffodil,” he would say.

“And you are my pretty petunia,” I would reply, followed by his raspy laugh. Oh, how I loved his aged laugh.

Although he tried to hide it, he found his time in our little condo quite boring. He spent his days teaching our young yellow canary to play fetch with a single slim twig and listened to his sweet songs until the afternoon. I could always hear the canary’s songs as I walked up the stairs to come home.

Over time he found something else to do while I was away. Every day he sat on the third-floor balcony of our condo and enjoyed the midday breeze as he waited for me to come home. I remember when the first parchment plane landed in my path. I admired the plane and smiled. If there is one thing he learned in his time in the Air Force when he was young, it is how to make the perfect parchment plane. I opened the plane to find the words “I missed you,” inside, along with a small twig; the same small twig he uses to play fetch with the canary. I was apparently his next project, and I was to learn fetch at the age of 75. This happened every day for months. He was happy, and so was I.

“What will we do when I retire?” I asked, “Throw parchment planes from the coat closet to the sofa?” As I chuckled at my conception, he only sat there and smiled as if he knew something I did not.

On a regular Tuesday, there was no parchment plane at my feet. I glanced up and saw his oak cane hooked to the railing. I wondered if the plane had gone off course and he was scrambling to make another. While unlocking our door, I realized I couldn’t hear any sweet songs from our yellow canary, but something else caught my attention. The parchment plane was sitting on the dining table with his pencil still beside it. Inside were the words, “You will always be my divine daffodil.” I looked over my shoulder with a smile to see him sitting on the balcony by his oak cane. He must have fallen asleep. And yet, he surprised me once again.


  1. Hi, Leah! I absolutely love this story. I love how you tied the canary into the ending, I love the details about the flowers, I love the voice you used to tell the story, and as bittersweet as the ending is, it really is perfect. Wonderful work!

  2. This is just the sweetest story ever!!! I love their love so much, it's so tender and just ahhh!!!

  3. A simply amazing love story that touches the heart! Thank you so much for sharing and congratulations on your first publication!

  4. Congrats on your publication! I love reading this piece, you did a really great job.

  5. Wow! Their relationship is so heart-warming and the ending really takes my breath away! Great work!


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