The spoon tinkled in the delicate China cup as she stirred the sugar the in her coffee. The big white cat purred softly on her lap, she stroked its fur absentmindedly as she looked at the garden outside. George had always loved this garden.
The wall behind her was full of fading photographs. Smiling faces from a younger time together looked at her from distant places. Here they were posing under the Eiffel Tower. There they stood before the Taj Mahal.
They’d had a good and long life together.
She sipped her coffee, and started spreading sweet strawberry jam on a piece of golden toast. The morning ritual felt familiar, but she still missed his smiling face. The whole room felt out of balance without him sitting in front of her.
An empty flower vase stood on the table. He had always made sure it was full every day. She stared silently at this small token of their love that was now broken.
The doorbell rang, bringing her back from her memories.
A young man stood outside, holding a bouquet of twelve red roses.
“–Mrs…” He looked down at the clipboard in his other hand.
“–Yes.” She answered doubtfully.
“–These are for you, m’am.”
She took the flowers, tipped the young man, and closed the door behind her.
There was a note.
She filled the flower vase with water and carefully arranged the roses in it. Then she sat, sipped some more coffee, and opened the white envelope.
She recognized the handwriting immediately. It was dated just a month before he passed away.
The note was short… but its few words brought tears to her old eyes.
My dear Julia,
When you get these flowers I will no longer be here. I hope that they can make you smile once more.
She put the small paper down, looked at the vase full of flowers… and smiled.