The day after the moon landing, a dry-eyed GI bride stands next to an open casket in Clovis, New Mexico

Anne Soilleux

The mortician has made him smile, so Sheila knows he’s definitely dead. She breathes in the smothering incense of lilies, catching a whiff of embalming fluid as her wailing, black-mantilla’d mother-in-law jostles her out of the way. No-one from England came.

She’s remembering how they met, crushed together in those drab village hall dances, Eddie spinning yarns in primary colours – cobalt skies, eternal sunshine, rich red earth. He gave her nylons and she said yes. They felt like silk. If only she’d known they were synthetic, so easily ripped to shreds.

High above, a plane flies east, heading for the ocean.

This story won First Prize in the July 2023 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: Anne Soilleux lives in Berkshire and sometimes manages to write short fiction.