A nice story of how love keeps burning between the couple through the years and even after death.
Sophie's face faded into the gray winter light of the sitting room. She dozed in the armchair that Joe had bought for her on their fortieth anniversary. The room was warm and quiet. Outside it was snowing lightly.
A florist's truck turned onto Allen Street. Sophie followed it with her eyes. It was moving slowly. Twice it stopped and started again. Then the driver pulled up in front of Mrs. Mason's house next door and parked.Who would be sending Mrs. Mason flowers? Sophie wondered. Her daughter in Wisconsin? Or her brother? No, her brother was very ill. It was probably her daughter. How nice of her.
Flowers made Sophie think of Joe and, for a moment, she let the aching memory fill her. Tomorrow was the fifteenth. Eight months since his death.
The flower mans was knocking at Mrs. Mason's front door. He carried a long white and green box and a clipboard. No one seemed to be answering. Of course! It was Friday - Mrs. Mason quilted at the church on Friday afternoons. the delivery man looked around, then started toward Sophie's house.
"Yes?" she said, peering around a slightly opened door. "Good afternoon, ma'am," the man said loudly. "Would you take a delivery for your neighbor?"
"Yes," Sophie answered, pulling the door wide open. "Where would you like me to put them?" the man asked politely. "In the kitchen, please. On the table." answered Sophie.
The rich smell of roses engulfed her. She closed her eyes and took slower breaths, imagining yellow roses. Joe had always chosen yellow. "To my sunshine," he would say, presenting the extravagant bouquet. He would laugh delightedly, kiss her on the forehead, then take her hands in his and sing to her "You Are My Sunshine."
She dragged a stepstool across the kitchen floor and lifted a white porcelain vase from the top corner cabinet. Using a drinking glass, she filled the vase with water, then tenderly arranged the roses and greens, and carried them into the sitting room.
She was smiling as she reached the middle of the room. She turned slightly and began to dip and twirl in small slow circles. She stepped lightly, gracefully, around the sitting room, into the kitchen, down the hall, back again. She danced till her knees grew weak, and then she dropped into the armchair and slept.
At a quarter past six, Sophie awoke with a start. Someone was knocking on the back door this time. It was Mrs. Mason.
"Hello, Sophie," Mrs. Mason said. "How are you?" Sophie was only half-listening. She had remembered the roses suddenly and was turning hot with shame. The empty flower box was behind her on the kitchen table. What would she say to Mrs. Mason?
Mrs. Mason chattered "I don't know how much longer I can keep paying the bills. If only Alfred, God bless him, had been as careful with money as your Joseph. Joseph! Oh, good heavens! I almost forgot about the roses."
Sophie's cheeks burned. She began to stammer an apology, stepping aside to reveal the empty box.
"Oh, good," Mrs. Mason interrupted. "You put the roses in water. Then you saw the card. I hope it didn't startle your to see Joseph's handwriting. Joseph had asked me to bring you the roses the first year, so I could explain for him. He didn't want to alarm you. His 'Rose Trust,' I think he called it. He arranged it with the florist last Apirl. Such a good man, your Joseph..."
But Sophie had stopped listening. Her heart was pounding as she picked up the small white envelope she had missed earlier. It had been lying beside the flower box all this time. With trembling hands, she removed the card.
"To my sunshine," it said. "I love you with all my heart. Try to be happy when you think of me. Love, Joe."