Rosanna found a job editing with a British publisher and worked mainly from home. Mrs Allen stayed on and they became close friends, feeding off each other’s stories about Will. Sabrina visited every day and encouraged Rosanna to accompany her to coffee mornings with a group of friends, and soon she felt ready to tackle Will’s box of belongings. Mrs Allen had already taken his clothes and toys to the charity shop. His room was bare.
The cardboard box was in the empty closet. When she opened the door, clothes hangers jangled, releasing the scent of lavender from sachets tied on with purple ribbon. She bent her knees to lift it and was surprised at the weight, dragging it across the carpet instead. It was a large box that had once contained variety packs of crisps. The headmaster had probably acquired it from the school tuck shop. Whatever happened to healthy eating? Will loved crisps, cheese and onion being his flavour of choice.
On top were the two cups he had won for cross country and hare and hounds, a football, balled up socks, a couple of reading books and several exercise books, which she discovered were filled with neatly hand-written, self-illustrated stories. The Christmas card she gave him was tucked down the side. Rosanna took each item, turned it in her hand and sniffed it for traces of his little boy smell. She found Bunny halfway down. He was tatty and grubby, and she spent the longest time inhaling Will’s scent, concentrated in the only toy that could ever comfort him. It was not until she reached the bottom that she found it.
Rosanna felt the solidity of the globe in her hands. She gave it a tiny shake and the snowflakes stirred, just a bit. She turned it upside down and watched the snow fall away from the house and garden, as if returning to the sky. Oh, how she wished she could do that with life. One last vigorous shake and the bits of white plastic flakes flurried and swirled until they formed a face. It was Will, staring back at her from the snow globe, his mouth a thin line, tears sparkling on his cheeks.
The final episode of Snow Globe for Poets and Storytellers United Writers’ Pantry