April A-Z blogging challenge 2012
The next story in this sequence of short stories of 250 words or fewer starts with V. All the stories are about the life and times of a fictional character called Alice.
Alice’s favourite flowers were violets, quiet, unassuming little plants that returned faithfully year after year. They had spread in her garden until they carpeted the grass under the trees, a perfect purplish-blue gift for tired eyes.
Alice was often weary. Ivy had broken her hip shortly after her 90th birthday and her recovery had been protracted. She was scared of further falls and less independent and so needed constant companionship. Ruth kept her company at night but was still working so Alice volunteered to stay with her mother during the day. Ivy had a limited range of repetitive conversation, preferring to revisit well-worn topics rather than take an interest in current affairs. Alice found it hard to maintain a dialogue.
Gradually, Ivy’s character changed. She began to treat Alice like a servant, giving her orders and complaining in querulous tones. Dismayed, Alice realised that it was almost impossible to recognise her mother. Ruth was finding her difficult, too. When she started throwing things at them they realised they could no longer cope and found a care home for her where sympathetic staff looked after her and calmed her as best they could.
Alice and Ruth visited her regularly but soon she didn’t know them and was confused by their presence. There were brief moments of clarity when she asked after Daniel.
Ivy died in 1990, aged 93. Alice grieved but was also relieved. Her mother’s last two years had been filled with bewilderment and distress. Finally she was at peace.