I woke to the sound of bird-call. The clock told me it was eight-thirty, that’s late for me. I turned to see an empty pillow, he’s up. I had better get up, he’ll be waiting for me in the kitchen, no doubt. He must have snuck out of bed, he usually wakes me. Oh well, I was getting on a bit, I deserved a lie in now and then. I’d had a good sleep; I was feeling happy, today was going to be a good day.
As I entered the kitchen, Charlie looked at me and smiled, “Cup of tea my love?” he asked.
I smiled back and said, “You stay there darling, I’ll make it.”
As I was making the tea, I looked at my Charlie, looking out the window into our garden. Our son-in-law Edward came round at the weekend to cut the grass. That was always Charlie’s job, but like me, he’s getting on a bit. “The garden is looking lovely,” he said, still with that wonderful smile on his face, the smile that always melted my heart.
I think it was Charlie’s smile that first attracted me to him all those years ago. I honestly don’t know where all the years have gone. They do say that time flies when you’re enjoying yourself. I know I have enjoyed every minute. I wouldn’t change a thing. Since the first day I met him, every day has been filled with love and joy. Even in the early days when times were hard, he was always happy and upbeat.
As I put his tea on the table, he looked up at the large picture on the wall, a beautiful picture of a meadow in the summer sunshine. “Do you remember when we went there?” he said.
How could I forget, we made love in that field; quite possibly one of the best days of my life. “Yes Charlie, I remember everything about that day.” As I look at the picture, I could smell the meadow flowers and feel the warm summer breeze. Charlie smiled as I said, “You made love to me in that field.”
It was a perfect day; we walked to the middle of the field. A distant church bell blended with the sound of bird-call and the gentle whisper of the wind through the meadow grasses. Setting our tartan blanket down in the space we made. We sat there for a while, saying nothing. Taking in the beauty of the day. Charlie took his shirt off to reveal his youthful body. Before long we were lying there together. As much a part of nature as was possible, at one with each other and the land.
I’ll never forget the feeling as we made love while the warm breeze engulfed our youthful bodies. Nothing could be more perfect for my first time. Sharing our bodies with each other on that lovely summer's day. I honestly don’t think a day goes by without me looking at that picture and wishing we were still there. Later that afternoon, as we lay next to each other, I noticed the poppies looking down on us. I told Charlie that I hadn't noticed the poppies before. He said that poppies were very shy, they only show themselves when it’s going to be a good day. Goodness, he was so romantic.
The spell was broken when the doorbell rang. I shuffled up the hallway with Charlie, stopping at the lounge to set Charlie down on his favourite chair. “Stay there my darling, finish your tea, it’s only Verity. She said she would pop round today.”
I let her in and she followed me to the kitchen. “Where's father?” she asked.
I told her he was sitting in his chair in the lounge. She put her arms around me, hugging me close as she kissed the top of my head. “Oh mum, are you sure you’re ready to do this today?”
I was ready, today was the perfect day. The sun was shining, the wind was warm and the poppies would be out. I asked Verity to go into my bedroom; there she would find a blue bag on the top of the wardrobe.
I told her to take it and put it on the front seat of her car; I would ride in the back with her father. It was only going to be a short drive; I gave her directions as we drove down the country lanes. Stopping in a small lay-by and walking down a country path, we arrived at our field. This was the first time I brought our daughter here, she immediately recognised it as the field in the picture. All these years later and it looked just the same. I told Verity that this was something I needed to do alone with her father. She understood and passed me the blue bag, giving me a loving rub on my back as I set off through the field.
As we reached the middle, I opened the bag and removed the tartan blanket. Carefully laying it on the ground, I sat down with Charlie. Holding him in my arms for the last time, I thanked him for giving me a daughter and all those wonderful memories over the years. I told him about how beautiful it was to make love for the first time. No fairytale could come close to the feeling of our two bodies entwined as one. I carefully spread his ashes out and laid down next to him. The poppies were looking down on us. My Charlie would soon join with them.
As the warm breeze flowed over my face, I could hear the church bell in the distance. I didn’t want to leave. Charlie told me I had to go, he would be there for me when my time came. In his usual upbeat way he whispered, “No rush my love, take your time, I’ll be here, waiting for you.” I stood up and folded our blanket before returning it to its bag. Looking across the field, I could see Verity wiping a tear from her eye. No tears in my eyes, I wanted to leave my lover with a happy face.
I took the short walk back to Verity. “Are you okay mum?” she asked with a sad smile on her face. I told her I was just fine, it was the perfect goodbye. I said that when it was my time, she was to do the same for me. She should bring me here, alone. It must be a warm day when the poppies were out, to take me out to the middle of the field and reunite me with her father. There were to be no tears, we would want to see her leave with a happy face. She gave me a hug and assured me she would do just that.
When we got home, Verity made us a cup of tea. We sat and chatted for a while before she had to leave. As she stood up, she gave me another hug. The sun was low as it shone through the window, casting its golden light on the picture and capturing Verity’s gaze. “Do you know what mum, all my life I’ve looked at that picture; this is the first time I’ve noticed the poppies.”
I smiled as I could feel Charlie hugging us both. “Poppies are very shy flowers, my dear, they only show themselves when it’s going to be a good day. Today was such a day.”