That Funeral Smell ~ fiction by Karen Walker

So kind of Ron to come over, help you out to the porch for a chat.

Such a nice man. He brought me flowers.

They got me thinking. Lilies will be an obvious choice, but they have that awful funeral smell. Perhaps hardy daisies mixed with blue gladiolus? Flowers that don’t lean on each other, keep their scent and their emotions to themselves. I like white. You like blue.

A robin crashed into the kitchen window last week. I ran outside in my bathrobe, found it with eyes closed and wings folded. At peace.

Stood there wondering if my black dress still fits. If I can walk in my old black heels. Been practicing while you sleep, bracing myself along the hallway. A bit wobbly, but okay.

You say you’ll be okay. I nod. I remind you to take the pills—red and yellow like my bouquet—with food because sometimes you’re blurry around the edges.

I’ll have everyone back here for sandwiches, assorted nibbles. Don’t know if it’s the air freshener or the carpet shampoo, but the funeral home makes me queasy. The kids will help.

They can stay in the spare room downstairs. Where I’m cleaning up my scrapbooking, finding hazy photos of me alone at the Trevi Fountain because you refused to go. Watery shots of you on fishing trips with Ron.  Few of us together.

Wedged between the washer and the cat’s litter box, Karen writes short fiction and flash fiction in a basement in Ontario, Canada. Her work has appeared in Reflex Fiction, Sunspot Lit, Defenestration, Funny Pearls, Unstamatic, Blue Lake Review, Blank Spaces, The Ekphrastic Review, and others.

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