In Lieu of Flowers, Send First Aid by Jessica McHugh

To his family, every word she said was a lie. Her denouncement was either rambling grief or an attempt to convince the world that Roland had faults. As if he ever could.

“You must believe me!”

She was difficult to reel in, even by the sturdier parishioners, but they couldn’t reel in her truth. It continued to blast as they hauled her down the aisle, and Roland’s precious family continued to call her “that madwoman”. Variations of “I knew that madwoman would be the end of him” were hurled at her in chunks, and she felt each one like they were his fists. Yes, they were his fists. She could never mistake a single knuckle. She could nearly smell the Jack Daniels. But not his family. They could never smell it over the aroma of the prize posies he’d planted all those years ago. Those flowers had long since withered, but they never saw it. Just how they never saw Roland withering away. Just how they never saw his poor wife withering in his shadow.

The men threw her to the pavement, but she was no stranger to those sorts of scrapes. She kept Bactine in her back pocket. Too bad she was wearing a dress.

“Need some?”

She looked up to see a bottle of first aid spray and the sweet face of the woman holding it.

“Thanks. Did you know Roland?”

“Why do you think I have the spray?”

Her scratches burned, but she smiled. Finally: there was someone to believe her.


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Filed under Jessica McHugh

8 responses to “In Lieu of Flowers, Send First Aid by Jessica McHugh

  1. Barbara Lucy Hosken

    Love the ending. Very poignant story. Why do women put up with it? As the Beatles said – Love , love, love.

  2. Someone to believe her. What a great story – sad, but wonderfully told.

  3. Bactine as this sort of code of women with ties to Roland. Powerful story. Peace…

  4. Maude Larke

    Wonderful touches of obliqueness to lead us to the end. And such an end.

  5. Deborah A. Upton

    Sometimes there are so many lies that it’s hard to recognize the truth when it’s told! Good story.

  6. Good story about a theme that swims in lies. Well told!

  7. Pingback: Week #43 – To the core | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  8. A great depiction of women are survivors! Thanks for this.

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