FOREVER CAME TODAY (c Ray Foster 2012)
As he had always done at this time of year Albert Proctor sat in the pew closest to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He always made a point of being here just to see Violet.
Each year she came. At first she, like many others, would place a poppy on the tomb and stand there and speak soft words. He could see her lips shape the words: ‘I love you – forever.’ She would often wipe, self consciously, a tear from her eye and walk away. But nowadays, things had changed. The numbers had withered away like the years as had the poppies. Only Violet had never changed. She had aged yet the tears that she shed and the words that she whispered were just as real.
Although she left a poppy Albert knew that it would be swept away. These days the tomb had to be left unmarked so that dignitaries who knew nothing of war could lay their wreaths.
Albert shifted in the pew.
Something was wrong.
This year Violet had not come.
No poppy fell upon the tomb.
Albert was disturbed.
As darkness fell and the doors closed, Albert shuffled away. Only to stop as he caught the whiff of a familiar scent. Lavender water.
He turned to see her standing there in a beam of moonlight.
She smiled, looking radiant as she took his arm. He smiled back.
“I missed you, darling,” Albert said. “I thought you weren’t going to come.”
She could only stand and stare and think how handsome he looked in his uniform. The uniform that he was so proud to wear the day he marched off to war.
“I haven’t been well, Albert darling,” Violet explained. “But, as you can see, I am much better now – now that you and I are together again.”