(prompt: 'tension' 28/6/2019)
The faces of her family turned in surprise to see the matriarch was the one tapping her glass with her Christmas-best silver-service knife. She cleared her throat importantly, and despite the flush of her cheeks at her unlikely display of courage, she plunged into her carefully prepared speech.
"I first must tell you how wonderful it's been to have the whole family together again. It's been so very long since last time, when... when..." Her bravery abruptly faltered; bottom lip quivering; tears filling her failing eyes. Feeling her unexpected tension, her eldest son moved behind her, placing a strong hand on her shoulder, and continuing her words - "... when we gathered for Dad's memorial service all those years ago. We know, Mum. We know. " He had a feeling what was coming. He'd seen her last test results and knew what an ordeal this was... her last Christmas. But even he was to be surprised, as she took some deep breaths and continued.
"You all know the time approaches when I won't be here..." and she held up one hand in her firmest 'STOP' gesture. "I'm sorry to interrupt our joyous time of sharing love and laughter—"
"... and all the presents! Don't forget them Nan!"
"... AND all the food," chimed in another voice, and several were seen nodding and rubbing tight stomachs.
Mavis smiled and shook her head. "I don't want anyone to be sad. That's why I've waited this long today to say these few words before you go." Another deep breath enabled her to continue. "I need you ALL to know - and never fight over this, because you're all hearing my absolute wishes now you're together." She smiled and shook her head at the expressions of denial ranging from disbelief to distressed. But nothing was going to stand in the way of her determination to be heard.
"When I go, I want to be cremated and my ashes turned into one of my six camellia pots." Again, her hand went up. "BUT - the funeral director must do it and never tell anyone WHICH pot I'm in." She ignored the collective gasp rippling around the table. "I will tell you one thing. It will be the same pot I put your father's ashes in so long ago. And none of you know which one that was."
Now a smattering of confusion entered her family's expressions. The question 'why?' was clearly in many eyes, causing her to answer with a roll of her eyes and an unexpected roguishness, "... this way I know my wonderful camellia bushes will always be well-cared for and you'll never get rid of them. Right?"
Many lips twitched and a few family members broke into laughter, when once again, like so many times before, her irrepressible mischievousness took over and her eyes twinkled brightly as she said,
"Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust,
You'll all want to find me
But wonder you must"
YOU ARE READING
Think I Can FlyShort Story
My 2019 collection of flash fiction and non-fiction stories inspired by a weekly prompt word begins. And who better to feature first than an Aussie achiever extraordinaire?