Joseph sits in the threadbare armchair, staring down at his wrinkled hands holding a simple gold ring. Shakily he turns the gold band around and around in between his index fingers. He feels the indentation of where it rested on its owner’s finger for so many years. A slight chip marring the perfection of the metal from a home improvement project. He smiles with tears in his eyes as memories flood him.
Her dark blue dress that matched her eyes at the dance where they met. A farewell party to soldiers about to go overseas. The men dressed in their uniforms trying to impress the women much like cocks trying to impress the yard full of hens. She came up to him asking if he wanted to dance, he was too shy to ask anyone, sitting at a table alone until she came to him. They spent the night dancing and talking. She promised to wait for him to come home. He promised to come home safe and sound.
The letters sent from home from his family, but, the ones he anticipated were the ones from his Rosie. The faint smell of her perfume, a rare luxury in times like these, lingering on the paper. Her neat cursive filling the pages with laughter and a glimmer of hope for better days. Even in the darkest moments, gunfire blazing overhead, the sound of explosions from the mortars, her letters he kept by his heart. A token to remember his promise to come home safe and sound.
Picking her up in his arms as he stepped off the ship onto the docks. Her laughter filling his ears to dim the sound of the crowd cheering and music playing as he looked into her eyes. He remembers the dress she wore for his coming home, a light pink dress that swirled around her knees. The first kiss they shared in front of hundreds of people, many not even related or friends, a celebration of their reunion from the war.
How she looked like an angel as she walked down the aisle at their small-town church. She wore her mother’s wedding gown, simple and elegant just like herself. A simple bouquet of wildflowers in her hands. A simple gold band for him and for her. A promise to love and cherish until death did they part.
The day she found out she was pregnant, tears of joy filling her blue eyes. They had tried for so many years, and finally, their prayers were answered. Nine months later, a son in the likeness of his mother was born. Their little house filled with the sound of a child’s laughter and tiny footsteps. Only to be joined by another three years later, a little girl the apple of her father’s eye.
Sitting in her favourite chair, curled up in the sun with a book or a piece of knitting. Her needles clicking as she sang along to the radio. Their children at her feet as she told them a story. Years later, her grandchildren would sit where their parents sat. Listening to her voice as she regaled them with tales of princesses and knights in shining armour. Her favourite story being of King Arthur and his knights.
The day she found out she had cancer, her small frame crumpling in on itself. He held her tight, saying it would be alright. Promising he would be there until the end. His hands holding hers tightly as she took her last breath. No roses for her funeral. Wildflowers, like the ones she carried on their wedding day, and like the ones she loved to wear in her hair.
His children find him the next morning sitting in their mother’s favourite floral armchair, the flowers faded from years of sitting in the sun. Clutched in his hands is their mother’s wedding band with a soft smile upon his face. A single wildflower rests on his lap despite it being the middle of winter.
Love don't come easy for a lonely soul like me
I find myself in trouble on the road to misery
I try to do the right thing but I'm easily misled
I'm drawn to the dark side, and the devil in my head