Vicky Newham won third prize with this very special story of love and loss.
He’d asked for freesias. ‘They were Jean’s favourite,’ he said.
In the vase by the bed, the buds loosen and release their delicate aroma.
He’s already half asleep. His body, barely a bump under the covers. Eye sockets hollowed out and cheek bones protruding.
‘No-one important,’ was how he described himself. ‘Not famous or special.’ A simple life, of love and loss: fish paste sandwiches eaten on the beach in the wind; an afternoon movie and night-time drive; the death of his wife.
Except – he was no ordinary man. He’d survived the war but was no match for this disease.
Six o’clock he’d requested, the same time he was born.
I glance at my watch and check everything’s in place. Increase the dose into the cannula. And clutching his frail hand, with skin gathered round joints, I sit with him and wait.
And say farewell to my beloved dad.