Flowers On The Side Of The Road

Trundling her way out the door towards the garage on route to her sinking secretarial job, Doreen Philstein snipped fresh carnations from her garden each morning, tied a velvet ribbon around them and placed them on her dashboard as she pulled out of the driveway. She did this not for aesthetic reasons. Doreen did this due to believing that if she suffered a fatal crash, no one else would place flowers at the scene to mark her passing. Her lack of companions had taken its toll over the years. But now in her fifties, she simply just kept on going. Second hand romance novels were cheap anyhow, and the supply never ran out.

Amongst the tailing gaters and tooting horns, the speeders and the slow drivers, an oasis kept her feline eyes out for her. A small fat brown orange cat always sat in the window of the third house along exit route fifty five. She had for many years. Always sunning herself with a self indulgent self satisfied smile. Doreen had watched the cat grow from kitten to a tubby old girl. This day though, the cat was gone.

At five thirty with computer screen dulled won blue eyes Doreen pulled on her oversized pink worn down to almost white coloured coat and left the office exactly on time. Blocking the usual thoughts over the trivial technicalities of her day, questions concerning the cat never left her mind. Determined, she pulled off a side street on her way home and tracked down the house where the tabby usually lay.

Knock, knock, knock, then the clicking of locks, then the frosty glass melted back to exhibit a paunchy, loose haired, glowing red eyed man rubbing his dirty hands on his too small t-shirt saying Yachting Rocks! 1981! and then on his dirt caked track pants. She slowly explained and he offered his thick hands to her. They went out and stared at the ground in the back garden.

“I planted a tree on top of her. Its’ roots should grow down, then hopefully she’ll help feed it to make it grow forever.”

“So she was a she?”

“Yes. Her name was Belinda Jack. I pulled her from the shelter before she was put down.”

“Belinda Jack?”

“Yes, after my mother and fathers’ names. If I had’ve gotten a boy, I would’ve named him the other way ‘round.”

“She was a beautiful cat, Fred.”

“Yes she was. Fourteen years old. Not sure how old that is in cat years though?”

“Me neither. Please. Wait here. I’ll be back in a minute.”

“The toilet is the third door on the left.”

“That’s ok.”

Fred was still silent breathing staring at the freshly turned earth when Doreen returned. She placed the rough cut bouquet gently down.

“That’s nice.”


Soon, the pair walked back inside. After a soft soothing cup of green tea and a couple of quick goodbyes, Doreen drove home, slowly. Silent salt water slow streaming down her cheeks, she was especially careful for now her own sweet scented memorial rested atop the grave of her only friend.


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