The Blue Vase, by Marlize Venter
“…eight, nine, ten.” Always ten steps from the car to the grave site. The same amount of shovels full of red dirt that she heaped on his coffin. She always counts out loud to try to break the eerie silence of the graveyard.
She sits on the edge of the tombstone and automatically starts pulling out the weeds.
“I’m sorry love, I know you said that I should not come here. It’s just…” she traces the little cyclist figure with her finger, then she shrugs and fixes her eyes on his engraved name, “You know what? Screw that, today I want to be here and there is nothing you can do about it.” She smiles faintly; in her minds-eye, she can see the raised eyebrow she would have gotten. She really does miss the way that he used to look at her over the top rims of his glasses.
“I’ve become tougher the past couple of years you know. I’m not a push over anymore. That’s what you get for leaving me.” Her fore finger keeps tracing the wheels of the bicycle. The initial bravery in her voice is replaced by a timid tone.
“It’s been difficult this week, that’s all. I really miss you. Today would’ve been our 34th wedding anniversary. Charlene is getting married and Ange is pregnant. Our girls are beautiful women, and they miss their daddy…” she tastes the silent tears.
“…and I saw that damn yellow beetle again. She is still driving it. The dent that you made when she hit you has not been fixed yet. Still! Five years later and she still drives with the constant reminder of what she did! How does she cope with it? I mean, I see her five years on and I can’t move. I can’t breathe… I can only remember. I remember how broken you were, I remember you lying next to the road, your helmet shattered in pieces, your cycling shoe lying in the grass, the blood staining the grey road shoulder. I remember the sound that the sirens made, I remember the doctor getting on top of you calling out ‘Mr. Fisher, stay with me’ as he did CPR. I remember you saying ‘Doll I love you,’ and how you said it’s getting dark. I remember the sound of the heart monitor flat lining. O, God! I can’t forget anything!
‘And she gets into that freaking car every bloody day and she drives it to God knows where, without remembering!
‘And here I am a mess because I cannot forget!” she grabs a handful of weeds and tosses it aside. The sobs rack through her body. The sound of her crying deafen out any other.
When she speaks again, her voice is thick with emotion, “To top it all, the blue vase shattered into a thousand pieces this morning. You know the one you bought with your first pay when you started in the mines? I dropped it. I know, I know…It’s not the end of the world, but today it felt like it.” She moves closer to the head stone and touches his name. She wipes her nose on her sleeve.
She chuckles as she tries to stand up and has to use the headstone as a support, “Since the day of the accident my knees are acting up. I hurt it when we fell. Anyhow, I won’t come here again. Can I tell you something? I am starting the mosaics course you did not want to do with me. The blue vase pieces will come in handy. I’ll see you, love. I love you.”