‘She lives her life in another world now,’ I said to the doctor as my auntie smiled with eyes that seemed to focus beyond the boundaries of the room.
‘Mrs Ash do you know who I am?’ asked Dr Parsons.
My aunt smiled, ‘Of course dear. Would you like a cup of tea?’
‘No thank you. Do you know what day of the week it is?’
‘I don’t need to know dear. Weeks are a thing of the past. Can you see the poppies? Aren’t they delicate; such big heads on tiny stems.’
I couldn’t help but look out of the window. Snow carpeted the adjacent field and left a fringe along the top of the fence. Trees were covered in white lace. I shivered.
The doctor continued questioning gently, not showing any surprise at the random replies he received.
As he prepared to leave he said to me, ‘I’ll refer your aunt to a specialist. It could take several weeks but call me if you need me.’
Suddenly auntie’s eyes were focused. ‘I won’t see you again Doctor. ‘I’m off on my travels. Tonight I’m spending with Susan. She’s such a good girl. I want to say goodbye properly.’
The doctor gave me a sympathetic look but as I saw him to the front door he said, ‘She’s so believable isn’t she? It must make it very hard for you.’
We spent a lovely evening together, drinking tea and eating cake. Auntie reminisced about the past. We looked at sepia photographs and each held a story. I studied Auntie Moira and Uncle Walter’s wedding photograph. They were so happy. Even now, when time had faded the image, you could see their joy.
In the morning I carried in her cup of tea in her china cup with tiny roses. As soon as I opened the curtains I knew she was gone. I touched her cold hand and saw the hint of a smile on her face. There was nothing anyone could do for her now. I was about to pick up the phone when I glanced out of the window. A sun light beam caught dust particles in its path, like dancing diamonds. I walked over to look at the view. The day would be full of formalities; it wouldn’t hurt to take a moment to myself.
Outside there was a young couple walking hand-in-hand, through a field of poppies, they turned with bright smiles and waved. Immediately I recognised them from their photograph. I waved right back and as I did so the scene changed to white. Snow covered the fields, lay delicately on the branches and collected into soft mounds under the fence.