A dried flower fell from the book as I opened it – I knew it must have been hers. In those far off days she often hid things in books hoping to be surprised later. Sometimes it was small handwritten notes, sometimes extra cash that she had no need of, and sometimes souvenirs: a theatre ticket, a love letter or a flower.
It was a carnation, the vivid yellows faded by the intervening decades to an elegant tan. I must have given it to her, the other men always gave her roses, I was the one who knew she hated that cloying sweet smell.
I carefully fold the faded blossom back into the book and replace it on the bookshelf: I feel I have intruded.