Mum had texted me earlier saying she would pick me up after school. We were falling in to wintertime again, and the sun had dropped out of the sky. She was parked where she always parked, opposite the town church, and as I crossed the road to her waiting car, I remember thinking that it was an odd time of day for a funeral. The coffin was being carried slowly out of the church as I neared the car.
I chucked my rucksack in the back seat, feeling the uncomfortable blast of stuffy hot air on my face. As I slammed the door shut, suddenly the car was filled with the stifling, overwhelming, unmistakable smell of lilies, a scent so strong it left a residue in your mouth. It was like trying to breathe soup. As I turned to mum, I saw she had her hand over her mouth too. She looked as startled as I did.
And then it was gone.
I don’t believe in ghosts or in the afterlife. But maybe there are as many choices in death as there are in life, and that always leaves open the possibility of a soul opening the wrong car door.