The Box – Linda Walsh

‘My condolences.’

I pocket the priest’s condolence and usher him into the crowded living room. My pockets are full. Full of ‘sorry for your troubles’ and ‘I’m so sorrys’. I find a shoe box, ‘Size 12 Brown Brogue’ and tip the sorrys into it.

Placing it on the laden table, I re-join the mourners offering them tea, coffee, whiskey. People circle the coffin whispering. An old woman touches John’s waxen face; pats his frozen hand. The mood lifts as the whiskey hits. The chatter bubbles as people reacquaint… and speculate.

More people arrive. I accept their sorrys, moving my hand over the box each time, a slight wave, a silent drop.

There’s a commotion as a woman crashes in, her cries stilling the mourners.

Judith.

Shrouded in black; lines of mascara trace a waterfall down her face. She touches my arm.

‘Sarah, I’m so sorry.’

I don’t put her sorry into the box. I flick it into a soiled saucer. Jameson sears a path of fire down my throat.

When the mourners filter out, I put the box in the coffin at John’s feet. I pull his letter out of my sleeve.

‘Sorry,’ it says.

I crumple the note; push it into the box.

A movement in the garden; Judith is leaning against the wall, one hand clutching her stomach. Snatching the box, I step outside.

Drowned eyes mirror mine, I see the friend she once was, the wretch she is now.

Touching her arm, I hand her the box.

 

Contents Drawer Link

Linda Walsh lives in the Dublin mountains beside a library and has written stories in her head since childhood. She is finally putting pen to paper and has fallen in love with Flash Fiction.   Twitter: @francaisanna

 

Image: via pxhere

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