It was an ordinary thing, something they used to do every summer, except for last year.
Last year, there was no spring, or summer, or any season at all in fact. Last year, it was all cold and grey, even though the sun shined for everybody else. Nothing shone for them. The days all clumped together like sodden cotton wool, getting heavier and more indistinct.
They shared a lot last year, but nothing good – it was all changing bed-pans, washing sheets, and giving injections. All three of them knew that they were racing down to something even more awful. Well, they knew heaven waited for one of them, but the pain of their present world kept making them forget.
She was like an angel, even before she died, they both thought. She was too weak to say much, but she always managed to smile, even at the very last moment. As they held her mother’s, his wife’s hands, they shared something – something that would always make the world look a bit less colourful, and a lot more empty. It took a good year for them to allow themselves to find enjoyment in anything, and now this was the first time – not like any of the times before.
“Try another, sweetie. They’re perfect.”
Her dad handed her the strawberry, holding another up to his own mouth, raising his eyebrows in encouragement. As their hands met, they both knew this was a start. An extraordinary beginning.