He Didn’t Deserve To Have Them
“My husband Dan and I live in the town where he grew up so my mother-in-law, Ingrid, was always turning up unannounced at our house. I know it would drive some women mad, but I loved it. Whenever Ingrid came to visit she put the kettle on and rustled up delicious treats.
Dan was a baker and I worked as a recruitment consultant but the only job I could find was over 100km away. It meant a long commute in my petrol-guzzling car. ‘Can’t you work closer to home, dear?’ Ingrid asked one night. ‘I worry about you being on the road so much!’
‘I wish I could’, I replied. As we settled into our chat, Ingrid filled me in on all the local gossip, ‘Oh, did you hear about Frank Parsons? she said, suddenly. ‘He died yesterday!’
‘Wasn’t he the old man who used to swear at kids in the street and shout racist comments at people?’ I asked. Ingrid nodded. ‘Yes, he wasn’t the nicest chap’. That was the understatement of the century! Frank was horrible. He’d been upsetting people in the community for as long as I could remember. He’d even stolen a pot of Ingrid’s homemade jam from a bake sale once. I’d seen him slip it into his pocket!
One day while at work Dan called me. ‘Mom’s just turned up!’ he said. ‘I forgot it’s her birthday. Can you pick up some flowers for her on the way home?’
‘Of course’, I replied. I was down to my last R200 and needed to get petrol on the way home. ‘I’ll buy her some flowers from the garage when I fill up’, I thought. That night, I stopped at the BP on my way out of town. But without thinking I filled up the car with R200 worth of fuel. When I went inside to pay for my petrol, I remembered my promise to Dan. I drove out of the garage feeling guilty. ‘What am I going to do?’ I thought, panicking. Ingrid deserved a beautiful bouquet on her special day. Then my phone rang – it was Dan. ‘Did you remember to pick up flowers?’ he asked.
‘Of course I did’, I replied. My heart sank as I hung up. I’d just lied to my husband and was now going to arrive home empty-handed. As I drove into town, I passed the local church. I thought of Dan’s grandfather’s funeral… All the flowers everywhere. An idea dawned on me. Could I really? Was it a crime against poor departed souls? I pictured Ingrid’s disappointed expression and decided God would forgive me. It was dark as I parked my car and made my way into the cemetery. Moving slowly from grave to grave, as though paying my respects, I stole a flower from each of the arrangements. No-one would notice there was one missing from each. Suddenly, I came across Frank Parson’s grave. I was surprised to find so many huge bouquets on it. I’d had no idea he’d been so popular! Then I remembered Ingrid telling me how he’d arranged his own funeral before he’d died – he hadn’t left his family a cent but he’d treated himself to flowers in the afterlife. An image of him pinching Ingrid’s jam flashed through my mind and before I could stop myself, I grabbed one of the bunches of flowers off of his grave. ‘You don’t deserve these, Frank’, I hissed into the dark.
Arriving home that evening, I walked through the front door brandishing my blooms. ‘For me? Darling, they’re fabulous’, Ingrid swooned. ‘Well done, babe’, Dan said. ‘Where did you get them from?’
‘That will be my little secret’. I said with a smug smile. And it has been to this day! You’ll be happy to know my grave robbing has never been repeated. And I’ve now set up an order with the local florist so Ingrid’s birthday is never forgotten again.”
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