The Scent Of Roses
by Maria Zannini
When I was a little girl, we had a neighbor who used to sun herself by an alley window in our fourth floor walk up in Chicago.
She was dying of cancer and back in the day, when there were so few options, the doctor recommended that a little sun would be good for her.
Our neighbor was a pretty woman, pale and shy. So it often startled me whenever I stuck my head out my window to find her disrobed from the waist up, and sitting on the window sill, her bare back against the warming rays of the sun.
During the twenty or so minutes she sunbathed, her husband would keep her company and play the clarinet. Some said he was once a professional musician. Others said he took up the clarinet again only after his wife became sick. Whatever the story, he serenaded her every afternoon during the short summer months in Chicago.
Sometimes we would hear her moan in the evenings. My mother would shake her head and make the sign of the cross. "Poor woman," she'd say. "I don't see how much longer she can last."
She lasted only a little while longer. By winter she was gone and for many weeks I neither saw or heard my neighbor or his clarinet.
My parents warned us to be more quiet and mindful of our grieving neighbor. When we raced up the stairs, we came to a sudden crawl as we neared the top landing where both we and our neighbor lived. We tiptoed past his door so as not to disturb him.
Once he came out just as I was passing by, and he stunned me when he smiled. It was such a sad smile, and he had aged considerably since I'd seen him last.
Was that what love did to you when the love of your life had gone?
He didn't play anymore and when the well wishers and friends stopped coming by, we didn't see him anymore either. One day, my mother told me our neighbor was moving out and that we would take over his apartment and cut a doorway between the two homes to accommodate our growing family.
I took the room the neighbor lady had used for sunbathing, my very own room for the first time in my life. I set my little dressing table and chair catty-corner from my bed, and on summer nights I would lift the shades on my window and fall asleep as the moonlight flooded the room.
One night, I awoke to the sound of a clarinet. It seemed to come from far away and for a moment I thought I was back in my old room that I shared with my sister.
I squinted at a shadow by my bedroom window until I made out the form of a half nude woman sitting on the sill. On my chair by the dressing table was a man with a clarinet playing softly.
Terrified, I eased out of bed and was nearly at the door when both people turned to look at me. Then like a mist in a breeze, they gently disappeared along with the music. I lay awake the rest of the night wondering what I had seen.
It wasn't until many years later, I learned the man had died not long after his wife. Whether it was an accident or deliberate, I never found out, but I know that he was with her that night in my room, serenading her as he did so many times before.
And it wasn't until that moment that I realized there was something else in that room with us that night. The scent of roses.
It made me smile that even in death, he never forgot the roses.
Have you ever seen a ghost? Do tell.
Touch Of Fire. In between writing paranormal romance, she homesteads on six acres of land in the middle of nowhere. Feverishly working on two new novels, she hopes to get at least one of them contracted this year.
Visit me on my blog. http://mariazannini.blogspot.com/
Or friend me on Goodreads. http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1572542.Maria_Zannini
PVN: Maria, thank you for this beautiful love story!