As they danced on the branches the birds filled the air with a soothing melody. The path was covered with dead leaves and branches upon which the tiniest forest creatures dined. It created a soft carpet underfoot. Sunlight filtered through the green canopy illuminating cobwebs and providing interesting shadows. The scent of pine, earth and wildflowers combined to remind her why she always loved coming here as a child.
The woods were tranquil and quiet – a sharp contrast to her nearby home. There was no yelling and screaming here. No one belittled or demeaned her or reminded her of her failures. No one compared her to her perfect sibling or blamed her for the other’s problems.
She escaped the emotional brutality of her youth here. She loved this cool, crisp haven. It was her refuge. On rare visits home, she always came here.
Her mother’s letter surprised her. The instructions were specific. The casket should be wood – not just any wood – mahogany. The pillow should be silk. There should be two days of viewing before the funeral. Burial should be in the old cemetery in the family area. Her perfect sibling would oversee the actual services and more important details.
She noticed the small creature staring at her in the distance as she opened the cardboard box and pulled out the plastic bag. “Lunch,” she said as she scattered the ashes across the decaying tree stump.
As she walked away she thought, “Screw you.”