Jeanie’s birthday dress was cotton white and crisply ironed. She wanted to wear it in the box. The flowers they had brought her were white too, with the odd speckle of violet for her eyes. She held the loose bunch to her chest as she lay back in her armchair.
“Those candles you’ve put on my cake…. Bless you, you couldn’t fit a hundred on there, could you? Those candles, put them round the box when I go. I’ll blow them out before they burn down. That’s easy. Now the fire needs to burn down to embers and away. I’ll close my eyes and leave you. I’ve waited too long for this day.”
She leaned her head back and closed her eyes, held the flowers a little tighter and breathed out.