Summer sunshine pulsed down into Jane’s back garden, forcing sweat from every pore in her body. She brushed hair from her face and then began fastening jewels into the worn treads of a tyre. Glass jewels, mother of pearl and other seashell jewels she’d gathered from the beaches she and Percy had visited. Then she filled the centre of the tyre with garden soil, planted daffodil and bluebell bulbs round the edge. Spring had been their favourite season. Warm, but not too warm. Neither of them liked to get overly hot. They’d been a perfect pair, always in full agreement. Never a cross word.
Every spring, the bulbs would grow into magnificent yellows and majestic blues. The colours would remind her of their times together, driving down to Cornwall, up to Wales, and to Scotland with its abundant purple heather.
Maybe she should add heather? She shook her head. It wouldn’t work with the bulbs. Sensible to stick to spring and not venture into the heat of summer.
On top of the tyre, with its planted bulbs, she placed a steering wheel to support the tall, graceful flowers. And – she couldn’t resist it – a wing mirror with spidery cracks crawling across its face. An eye, for reflecting and for reflection, Percy would have appreciated that. Also, this token of her respect and her admiration for his steadfast loyalty and his love.
Together, they had driven thousands upon thousands of miles. Percy had been, she didn’t like to admit it, but, okay, a good twenty years older than her, but never had she felt the need to mention his age.
A tear trickled down her face. She loved Percy, and he’d loved travelling. But now he was gone. She’d given him dignity with a monument in pride of place at the centre of her lawn, and that gave her comfort. She’d light a candle for him at night for as long as she could, but glaucoma was eating up her vision. She hadn’t many sighted years left. No longer could she drive, not that she wanted to go anywhere without Percy.
No-one else wanted him; nobody would take on a beaten up, no-salvageable-parts camper van, especially one with daffodils, bluebells and Hippy-Peace signs painted on the sides. Except for the crusher, that was. Recycling was driving up the price of scrap metal, she’d been told. The callousness had hurt but, for Percy’s sake, she’d smiled and taken the proffered money. Now she pressed it down, inside his tyre.
Poor, poor Percy. But the fifty-pound note was fine company for him. He couldn’t have asked for better soul mates than James Watt and Matthew Boulton.
Gillian (aka Gill) Ainsworth is a British writer who’s had stories published in the UK, Germany and the USA. For many years, she was a Senior Editor for Apex Magazine and the UK editor for Apex Book Company. Together with Jason Sizemore, she won a Bram Stoker Award nomination for their anthology, Aegri Somnia. Recently, three of her stories have appeared in AdHoc flash fiction, one story being voted the winner for that issue. Another of her stories, Chips, was a winner in the July Didcot Writers competition. She has also seen her story, The Pimple, online in 101 Words.