Many happy

Some or many years ago of course my mum was there. Nine months earlier and the man they called my father had been too. Now both are disappeared, one too soon before the other, and the counting of the years wears thin.

The best thing remain the candles – if you forget the jokes about the fire risk and the firemen and now the fire service. Each candle stands for a memory, a year that has passed or a friend, and calmly shines its light into the future. The more candles on the cake, the brighter the light they cast, the better they show us what is to come.

Though, through fear, we may not want to know. So we blow out the candles and pinch out the stubs and blow away the memories and shade out the light. The future is arriving fast enough; I do not want to see it.

Jeanie’s birthday

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.