Cremains

by Kathryn Smith

‘Yes, it is her,’ I say. ‘Cross my heart and hope to die.’

Jean comes up close and her eyes glint in the yellowish brilliance of the 58-facet round gem pressing on my chest.

She can’t take her eyes off it; she looks transfixed in the otherworldly light.

‘You know,’ she says, ‘it’s weird, but for a moment I thought I saw her.’

‘Just some trace impurities,’ I tell her, ‘a crystallographic defect.’

I had looked at a few commemorative options but having my mother’s ashes made into a diamond seemed like a smart idea… new from old, light from dark, good from bad, that sort of thing; not just dust to dust.

I toyed with the idea of a launch into space or a controlled explosion blasting her atoms to oblivion but I did a tally of the carbon footprint and thought that burning her once was bad enough. I also thought of her particulates invading someone’s airways, especially some unsuspecting asthmatic. And who knows, she might have taken up residence.

Naming a star after her was another option. Battle Axe Gallactica – but that one was apparently taken.

Geoff, my other half, suggested we grout the kitchen tiles with her but I didn’t think that was very hygienic – although it would have had a certain resonance with that bloody dark granite worktop he insisted on having.

Tattoos are popular. Memorial body ink – the fine line between the living and the dead. Could I have lived with her under my skin, deep in the heart of things? A no to Frank Sinatra.

So, in the end I decided on the diamond. It took a long time to make; heat, pressure, heat, pressure. They added some hair too, just to make a bigger gem.

‘So, what do you think Jean, do you like it?’

‘Well it’s alright but how do you know it’s her? With that colour they could have put horse piss in it.’

‘The yellow is nitrogen Jean. There’s nothing phoney about it. They had a very professional website.’

All of a sudden the six grand price tag rather than the gem begins to weigh very heavily on my chest.

Kathryn Smith loves both poetry and short fiction and also paints stories.

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