828. The scattering
© Bruce Goodman 16 January 2016

It’s funny. After forty-eight years of marriage, Patsy and Martyn had decided upon cremation but they had never discussed what to do with the ashes. Currently, Martyn’s ashes were in a little urn sitting on the mantelpiece.

“I should really just throw them into the fire!” Patsy found herself talking to the ashes quite often. “Into the fire and be done with it!”

And then she would have a little weep and a little laugh and wondered, really, oh really! what she should do with them.

She thought of scattering them in the garden and growing plants. The thought of vegetables was disconcerting. It would be a rather round-about sort of cannibalism. Eventually she decided! She would go to the beach, wade into the water, and tip the ashes out into the ocean. That way, it was like an infinite dispersal. Free as an albatross! An eternal surge of life!

Patsy drove to the beach. She waded into the water. Just as she emptied the urn, a larger than usual wave knocked her over. The watery ashes splashed all over her dress; grey speckles clung to the fabric. She was drenched in her husband’s ashes.

Patsy drove home wet to the bone. She couldn’t stop laughing. After all these years, she thought, after all these years, the dress goes into the washing machine and the husband goes down the plughole!

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