Mari looked out over the suspended balcony known as Point Sublime. As ever, the view was breath-taking, the deep canyon of the Gorges du Verdon with its winding river surrounded by the towering limestone peaks and plateaus. “This is our special place” she said, and she hugged Tom closer to her chest. As the October breeze gently ruffled her hair, she thought back to the Spring.
The consultant had spoken softly. “We’ve had the results back. I am afraid it’s bad news, the tumour is inoperable, and your condition is terminal.” The shocked silence was interrupted by the question the doctor must have heard so many times as Tom asked how long he had left.
That night, as they lay in bed, Tom had whispered in her ear, “we still have four or five months and the whole summer. Let’s go to Provence.”
They stayed at a small cottage in Luberon. Each morning they rose with the early summer sun and journeyed in the French landscape, revelling in the beauty and symphony of colours. The bright yellow of the sunflowers with their nodding heads and smiling brown faces and the lavender fields. Those swathes of purple and blue flowers sending their sweet perfume into their welcoming noses. All thoughts of Tom’s death were subsumed in this swirl of life and later they watched the golden hour before sunset as the purple shades blended with the summer sky’s pastel shades of pink and orange. This was their haven, the place where Tom had proposed 15 years earlier and where they had spent their honeymoon. At 35 he was too young to die, but they had their summer of love in the glorious countryside.
They had driven to the Verdon Gorge to their place. “It is time to go home,” Tom had said with a melancholic smile, “but this is the spot, Mari.”
Mari reached down, pulling open the casket. She released Tom’s ashes to the Provence wind, the smoke-like tendrils floating down to the Gorge below. At that moment she felt the quickening, their child and Tom’s legacy moving within her.