Maybe it was because she was on her last breath, but to Maya it felt like the whole cosmos was imploding inside her. Her eyes scanned the room in search of something to hold on to: an umbrella, a picture from when she was four, the soft touch of her late husband’s hand on hers. He had already left. At ninety-four, his heart had given up while eating a bowl of cereal, the fatigue from co-ordinating swallowing and breathing had been too much on that crisp winter morning. His departure had been sweet and comforting. They moved him to their bed, where he slowly faded away by her side. Everyone thought she would not leave that bed, that, like many other couples, she would follow him shortly after. But that would have been unlike her. She was strong. She had got through a war and raised seven children and lost two. No, she was not going to give up, she still had to write her memoirs, their memoirs. “It’s been an exciting life, don’t you think?” she would ask anyone who cared to listen. She would tell them about harvesting potatoes in August and running away to visit her cousins three miles south. She would tell them about her first pregnancy and how she only ate double cream for a whole week. “No wonder Pip turned up so skinny! I think I probably gave him a heart attack that week”. And then came Charlotte, and sweet sweet Jane who left this world too early, they think it must have been celiac disease, and Ash, June, Daniel, Margot, Cecilia and little Joanie. She would tear up remembering the accident that took Cecilia at the young age of seven. “She did not deserve it. No-one deserves to leave having had the taste of honey on their lips without getting to the pot”. She invented odd sayings like that, and everyone was very fond of them. They made Maya who she was, beyond the mother and carer, the teacher and the lover, the essence of her spirit and her legacy were in the way she made everyone crack up with her latest invention. “You know, you cannot fly to neverland without having a good digestion first”. She would use that one on her children at the table, to keep them from running out to play with their friends halfway through lunch. “My mother used to say pig’s farts bring you luck so never dismiss what the lion tamer tells you”. No one really understood that one, not even Maya, but somehow it worked when getting the kids to do their homework.
It had been a good life, hadn’t it? As Maya looked around the room she could feel her husband by her side, just as she had been by his the day he passed away. She had never got round to writing the damn memoirs, but who cared now. She had had a good run of it, and she was with him once again. Her memories faded away slowly as she drifted into the longest embrace.