Snow, rain or bright summers day, it didn’t matter to Aunt Alice. Her door was always open to me. A warm smile emanating from her crepe skin as her age spotted hands reached for the kettle. I might only have been 9 years old and she 92, but it didn’t matter to us.
I would watch her, fascinated, her puckered lips trembling as she bit into a digestive biscuit carefully so as not to disturb her teeth. Telling me in delicate warble all about the old days, as we shared new days together. Book ends in many ways, old souls her and I. We would always begin in the living room, until the teapot was emptied and the fatigue of her years would wash over her fragile frame pulling her under for an afternoon sleep. Sat tight in her chair that faced South to the back of the house. That was the time when the garden would call, drawing me out back to explore. Almost an acre of winding lawn that stretched out like a finger pointing down toward an opening in the fence, a passageway to the woodland and canal side.
In autumn I would watch leaves fall like feathers floating between the gnarled branches of the giant Oak at the centre of the plot. The wall of Conifers standing proud like soldiers against the harsh winter snow impressed me with their resilience, but it was in spring and summer that the green canvas came back to life. Cherry trees speckled fresh cut grass with a pastel palette and the weeping Willow tree would sway melancholic in the gentle breeze.
But the bluebells, oh, the bluebells! That magical moment their buds opened to take first place in the race against the other woodland plants and flowers, heralding the onset of longer warmer days.
On these days, as Aunt Alice took her nap, I would tip toe down to the opening in the fence, then meander out to skip through the rich blue carpet of flowers. A blue so vivid it could put the seas and the skies to shame. Almost royal in its hue, I would imagine myself wrapped in a cloak and gown of it like a bluebell princess, Aunt Alice my lady in waiting. Her limbs not stiff, her lips not trembling, but dancing her and I, spinning and laughing.
On that last day of spring, I ran back from my daydream clutching a small bunch of the prettiest blooms. Only Aunt Alice did not wake today, the story between our book ends halted. I did not dance amongst the bluebells the next spring, nor ever since then. Now the magic remains in memories, in the dancing foot prints of the bluebell princess and her lady in waiting.
THIS WAS WRITTEN IN RESPONSE TO A SPECIAL EDITION OF FREE WRITE FRIDAY