My writing friend and I are back at La Noisette to do our flash fiction exercises by identifying a person then writing for ten minutes. Sometimes we pick up the same thing. She also had the elderly woman that inspired this piece as not liking the dead person, only she made the defunct as the French call it, the wife of her lover.
Janine signed the condolence book on the gold-legged table just outside the 13th century church. The hearse hadn’t arrived, but some early funeral attendees were straggling in.
She still had trouble believing her arch enemy from grade school on was dead. Decades of animosity flowed from her pen as she signed her name. She still remembered Maria throwing paint on her new blouse, tripping her on the playground and stealing her homework.
Janine gave as good as she got. Her late husband, Jean-Luc, has been Maria’s boyfriend first although during Janine’s marriage she wasn’t sure she hadn’t done Maria a favour by taking Jean-Luc off her hands.
Janine leaned heavily on her cane. Despite the winter sun, her arthritis was hurting today.
She hadn’t known Maria was ill, even if the lived side-by-side. Each had called the police from time to time to complain about noise coming from the other’s house. Maria had won her case with the fence argument forcing Janine to move the structure six inches back towards her property.
Janine took a minute to read the names. People could be Maria’s friend or hers, not both. However some of the names on the list were people she had thought had been on her side.
Looking up she watched the hearse park by the side of the church. Maria’s sons and sons-in-law moved to shift the coffin into the church.
The line of people waiting to sign the condolence book had grown behind Janine.
She debated going in, but instead shuffled off to buy bread at the boulangerie.