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I am delighted to have this flash fiction piece included in the Spring issue of Wordlegs magazine. It is a piece I wrote a few months ago inspired after walking past the side of Trinity College beneath a sprinkling of blossoms. I wanted to reflect on the passing of time and something beautiful coming to an end.

Cherry Wishes

abstract flower

Painting by Julie O’Brien

The cherry blossoms are shedding, floating on air as snowflakes. Patrick is beneath them, a shower of dusty pink that clings to his dark clothes. They fell on our wedding day too, caught on a whisper of wind. We have a photograph; me in an ivory dress, him in a pale blue suit, heads tilted and mouths open trying to catch one on our tongues.

Today he looks older. A trio of lines radiate out the sides of his eyes like eagle claws. Paler too, the caramel colour he turns at the slightest ray of sun leached out, as if frightened away.

For me there was never anyone else. From that first moment, him standing in front of the cinema, a grin so wide it cut me in two; the only thing able to fill the gap, a sliver of him.

Over the years we have changed; got more comfortable with each other, ourselves, grown into our own skins. Decades slipped by easily, eroding us slowly like rocks on a cliff face. Somehow we survived as others fell apart, argued themselves into separation, their children cornered casualties.

One anniversary we shared our unrequited wishes, urged each other to make a list and entrusted them to one another. Some were easy; learning to drive, a trip down the Nile, a Ferrari ride. But there was one we were never able to realise. Biology and fate not on our side we fostered. Took in those that others chose to dismiss or neglect and gave them parts of ourselves, made them part of us.

One by one the wishes got crossed off, lines scratched through and closer to the end. We nearly made it too.

More than anything I want to be there next to him, his hand in mine. But that is no longer my place. I turn as he does and see what he has been waiting for. Coming down the winding road is a quartet of black horses shiny with sweat, white feathers pointing to the heavens from the garlands on their heads. They are pulling me; through the heart of Glasnevin, a line of cars trundling behind. My final wish realised, not in the way I imagined, but my list complete.

On a blanket of cherry blossoms I reach him. He steps back and leans on the tree, its trunk the support he needs. Each of its petals, a little piece of me.