The shopping list. Short story. 

June, sat feeling helpless in the corner of her living room whilst her daughter Sally cried into a large pile of Junes clothes.  She hadn’t been inside this house for 365 days. She saw the room with fresh eyes. How she had missed it, she thought to herself.

‘You wore these the day before you left.’

Sally said holding up a pair of dark jeans. She didn’t expect a response. But still she said it out loud, hoping something might have changed, somehow. Sally reached into the pockets and retrieved a crumpled piece of paper. A shopping list. Her throat burned as she held back tears. There had been so many tears over the past year.

‘My shopping list. I was going to make lemon squares.’ June whispered.

Sally continued to look at the crumpled list. You never did make the lemon squares, Sally thought. June edged closer to her daughter. She wanted to hold her, to apologise for leaving her. She moved her soft fingers across Sally’s tear soaked cheek. Sally reached up her hand and placed it where her mothers fingers had been.

Sally knew today would be hard. She carefully folded the shopping list and tucked it gently away inside one of her mothers journals. She continued to carefully fold her mothers clothes into bags. Acceptance was the hardest thing. She lay down on the floral sofa and spread out her legs as she had seen her mother do so many times. June crouched on the floor beside her.

‘I can’t stay long Sally. I’m sorry.’ June whispered softly to Sally.

‘I miss you mum.’ said Sally.
‘Sally what are you doing.’

Sally turned toward her dad. Tears rolled helplessly down her face.

‘Oh dad, I miss her, I miss her so much.’

June watched as Sally effortlessly hugged her arms tight around her dad.

‘I have to go Sally. I’m sorry.’ June said, trying hard not to look at her past husband 

June softly kissed the top of Sally’s head and gently squeezed her arm.

June walked out through the front door, tears toppling down her face. They say it gets easier; she thought, that each year you grow stronger. How can it, she thought. She always wondered whilst growing up what hell might feel like, and now she knows. Hell is being dead, whilst the people you love continue to live. Hell is being within distance to kiss away their tears but knowing they will never feel those kisses and those two will keep on falling. 
Karen Hayward ©2016

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