Daffodils, a short story by Julie Lindsell at Spillwords.com
Yoksel Zok



written by: Julie Lindsell


Part One

Tom blinked. The water filling his eyes reflected the sea of sadness in his heart. She was gone. He knew it, in his heart and in his mind. But he couldn’t accept it. He saw her in his mind’s eye, heard her voice in his head, felt her near him. “Why did you leave me Cathy?” he said, his voice bitter and breaking. He carefully picked up her favourite bear, Fred. He was very thread bare. She’d had him since she was four. Tom blinked again and Fred began to cry. The pain began to tear at him, suffocating him. He ran into the garden, gasping, and stopped. He saw daffodils. A light sprang into his mind. Cathy loved flowers, daffodils especially. “They sing of a glorious new day” she’d say “they embody light and joy.” All at once, Tom began to laugh. Slowly, a gentle chuckle, then he let rip into howls of laughter. He knew his neighbours would be concerned, but he didn’t care. It had been three years. Three years he had been in a sea of despair. Three springs and he had never noticed the daffodils. But they were right there, every year, waiting for him. Waiting to give him hope. He would see Cathy again. He felt it. The tide receded, just a little, and he could see sand, a more solid foundation where he could place his feet. He held Fred to his face “you and me Fred, we’re going on a journey.” Fred looked at him, searching his eyes for an explanation. “A journey out of the dark, into a bright future. Cathy left the key for us all along in the garden Fred, we follow the daffodils, we follow hope.”


Part Two

The next day, Tom walked to the local florist and with a flutter of nerves, took his first determined step back into the past.
“Good morning Tom!” Danielle, the owner greeted him “it’s good to see you.”
“You too, the place looks great.”
“Thanks, there have been a lot of changes to keep business going but I’m pleased with it.”
“Cathy would have loved it.” He involuntarily put a hand to his throat as he felt the memories of her rise up inside him.
“She would” Danielle agreed, her own emotions surfacing as she looked at Tom. He hadn’t visited since they had lost Cathy. She had been a good friend to Danielle and each day she missed their chats over tea. They called it “Camomile and Chrysanthemums time” to begin with, as one had been Danielle’s favourite flowers and the other Cathy’s favourite drink. But it got too hard to say, Danielle remembered with a giggle, so they’d changed it to “Brew and Banter,” texting each other with a “you up for a BAB today?”

As she watched Tom move slowly around the shop, Danielle immediately found herself back on the day when she first met Tom and Cathy. They were newly married, it was spring and Tom wanted to get Cathy a first month anniversary gift.

“I love these!” Cathy said, rushing over to a brightly coloured display of tulips and daffodils. Danielle had grown them from their bulbs in a long planter then cut some to show how they could look together. Despite the different type of flower, they seemed to work and Cathy grabbed packets of bulbs from the stand to show Tom. Her eyes were alive with love and life.

Danielle had felt a tug at her heart. She was a widow and missed her Matt each and every day. But seeing these two so happy made her glad.

“We’ll have these please” Tom said, putting them on the counter “my new wife has good taste and whatever makes her happy, she will have.”
A romantic gesture, Danielle had thought at the time.
“That’ll be £6.80 please” she said, scanning them through “when was the happy day?”
“March 20th, it’s our one month anniversary today” Cathy gushed, her happiness spilling over like a waterfall. “I’m Cathy and this is Tom, what’s your name?”
“Danielle, pleased to meet you. You are a fan of flowers then Cathy?”
“Oh yes, my Dad was a florist and mum was a gardener for that big house down the road.”
“You know what you’re on about then.”
“I’m not expert, but I do love them. How did you get into floristry?”
“Both my parents were florists and ran this shop together. I took it over with my husband three years ago. We were so very happy, like you.” She felt the memory of him their life take hold and she clutched the counter.

“Are you okay?” Cathy had asked with concern.
“I, I’ll be okay. It’s just, it was all so sudden. He had a stroke. He was only twenty six. Neither of us saw it coming, we were both in good health and not stressed out. We loved being in the shop, we loved being together. He went so quickly, he just fell down and never woke up. I, oh heck, I’d even seen an advert the night before with the signs to look out for, but if they happened, I didn’t notice. He was working on a display in the back room while I served, I heard a thud and…”

She had crumbled to the floor, her heart breaking, Cathy rounded the corner in an instant and took her in her arms as she cried.


Part Three

“I think Danielle, that I will have these please” Tom said, carefully placing a packet of daffodil bulbs on the counter. Danielle stared at them. “Danielle, are you okay?”

She looked up “Sorry Tom, I was somewhere else.”
She picked them up, scanning them absent mindedly, her mind not quite back in the present. “It’s a good choice, Cathy’s favourite. Matt’s too actually.” Her hand shook.

Tom realised then what day it was. He gently took her hand “I’m sorry, Dani, it’s the anniversary isn’t it?”

“Yes” Danielle wiped a tear away then looked Tom straight in the eye “but you know Tom, you have inspired me. You’ve taken a great step coming in today. I think we can get through this. We have the flowers to remind us of them, but also to remind us that life does go on.”

“We do.” He thought for a moment, staring at the bulbs.

Maybe Cathy wanted to remind him that Danielle was alone too and needed a friend right now. He swallowed and looked up at her.
“Danielle, after work, would you like to go for a walk with me? The daffodils are looking beautiful by the river right now and if we time it right, we could catch the sunset over the fields.”

“That sounds idyllic.”

“And,” Tom continued, feeling more and more like this was the right thing to do “the kiosk in the park stays open until seven, so we could get a drink and chat. If you want?”
“Like a brew and banter?” Danielle asked, a smile returning to her face.
Recalling the phrase, Tom broke into a wide smile himself “Yes Danielle, exactly like that.”

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