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The Mayfly

By David Ronayne

She lay on the bed of feathers, her old wizened face relaxed into a contented mass of wrinkles framed by grey hair. He turned to leave - content perhaps, that she had survived this long. By human standards, one hundred and five was a very long time. She groaned as she awoke, as if from the sound of his departing footfalls, and called out to the visitor as he reached the door. No, he wouldn't leave again, not now he knew. He returned to her bedside and took her hand.

‘It's me,’ he said gently, trying to sound as he did several lifetimes ago.

Her eyes, now sightless with age, stared past him as she clasped his hand and touched the bracelet around his wrist. ‘You returned.’ She smiled and what could have been a blush covered her ancient face, as he reached down into his satchel and offered her a drink from the thermos he had prepared in the ship.

‘It has been a long time, best beloved,’ she said gently, uncertain whether to accept.

He smiled this time, helping her to raise the cup to her lips, before drinking from his own, the warm scent of the cocoa bringing back memories of a distant past.

And there they sat, through her final night, reliving their brief time together in the Garden of the Aged, many years ago.

This item appeared in TSV 34 (July 1993).

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