That cyclist hasn’t

That cyclist hasn’t thought through the whole flowers-in-the-backpack situation. Pedestrians are showered with petals like confetti. Some smile and hold hands more tightly, others brush petals from their faces. Perhaps tears. The cyclist speeds on. At his destination, perhaps a red-brick block near the bypass, disappointment waits with its usual patience.


Since the physician-induced coma following the second stabbing, the only smell I can distinguish is that of jasmine. How precise and pernickety our nerves and brain cells must be, that the odours and flavours of rose, of dog rose, of honeysuckle and of tiny wild orchid are all lost to me but jasmine remains. And grades of jasmine at that Рhow long it has been open, the time of the day, whether it has been shaken or lightly crushed, all of these make a difference. How wonderful are our brains; how wonderful the shades of jasmine.

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.