The morning after J was discharged now that her mitral valve leak had been repaired (the fine fibrous tendons which finesse its closure had ruptured - the strings of my heart were broken she confessed in an unguarded moment of truth about her past) and a ring inserted into the tricuspid valve which had collaterally been distorted by a struggling ventricle, we took her for breakfast at Jackies before heading off to the Blue Mountains for a swap to another car to complete the four hour drive homewards.
Jackies is where C told Debbie to stop worrying about turning fifty and for fucks sake, have a party. Which she did.
There's a fashionable women's shop next door, or overhead mostly, as Jackies sits mainly in a gorgeous golden old sandstone cellar. A side service door to the shop is from Jackies upper courtyard. There's interesting comings and goings often enough, and on this morning a fine looking young woman in sensible shoes carried in a bucket chocka with the most gorgeous roses, a soft pale apricot pink rose at once subtle but attention commanding at the same time.
A second bucket arrived as we were leaving. I for one couldn't help myself. I mostly can't. The smell was a thing increasingly rare, and transporting, literally back to childhood. My father's favorites were 'Forty-niner*' and 'Peace", about as old fashioned as old fashioned roses get, or got. I all but swooned and smelt again. "Take one" she smiled, "it's 'Josephine'."
(* named after the 1849 Californian gold rush)