Perking the Pansies
Jack and Liam move to Turkey

Jack's Guardian Angel

This is a preview to the chapter Jack's Guardian Angel from the book Perking the Pansies by Jack Scott.
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It was an annual ritual and I was glad of it. I meandered through the exquisitely coiffured garden, past regimented rows of blossoming standard roses, each planted with military precision and each with a small plaque placed at its roots. I was heading towards the ornamental pond with its elaborate faux Roman fountain, three dolphins entwined in space above the water. It was one of those rare, glorious English spring days. Just like the day of the funeral, a perfect day for a cremation. As I approached the fountain I spotted a young man sitting on a memorial bench.
“Hello,” I said.
The stranger looked up and smiled. “Hi. Who’ve you come to see?”
“John.” I pointed to the black onyx plinth that rose vertically from the lily pond, one of many that lined the perimeter like a modern day stone circle.
“You?”
“My kid brother. Died in car accident last year.”
I studied the small cameo portrait of a handsome smiling boy; short dark hair, chocolate skin and huge black eyes. The simple inscription read: Deependra. Died Age 13. Sadly Missed.
“Terrible,” I said, “only a child. It’s not supposed to happen.”
“No. And John?” “My partner.”
“Oh, I see. He was taken young too then. I did wonder.”
“Thirty-six. Pneumonia.”
“I’m sorry. I come here a lot. It helps.”
“Me too.”
“Sometimes I get more flowers than I can fit in the vase. I give some to John, since they’re neighbours now. That okay?”
“Of course. That’s lovely. I bring champagne. John adored champagne.”
He smiled. “Well, nice meeting you, I’ll leave you to your drink.”
“Bye. And thanks for the flowers.”
Deependra’s brother wandered off through the rose garden and waved without looking back.

“Hello, John.” I unpacked my instruments of remembrance: a half-bottle of Moet, one plastic glass, six tea lights, a box of matches, an MP3 player and a commemorative poem, laminated by Maurice at work. I placed the tea lights in a row, one for each anniversary, struck a match and lit the six wicks in turn. It was a still day and the candles flickered longer than usual before the breeze snuffed them out. I leant the poem against the lip of the pool in front of John’s final resting place. It was a first. I’d never attempted poetry.
“I’ve written something for you. I’m sorry it’s naff. I’m sure you’d say something cutting about it.”
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