She arranged the red plastic flowers in the vase in front of the gravestone. She had been in a film once, as an extra. It was a wedding scene. She sat on the bride’s side of the isle and had scratched her arm on the plastic flowers attached to the end of the pew. “They gotta be plastic because the hot lights would wilt real ones,” said the brown-eyed grip she dated for three months afterwards. Her mother hadn’t liked him. Said he smelled like a shoe store. Costumes had given her a fake mink stole to wear over her own dress. The bride’s family was rich. She had sweated in the heat of the lamps leaving stains under her arms. Her mother hadn’t liked the dress either. Said it didn’t breathe properly.
Medicine Hat is the sunniest city in Alberta. Even so, to die of heatstroke in Canada seemed ironic and impossible. Her mother had been worried about her garden and whether she would have fresh flowers on the table for her book club, even though she hadn’t even finished Love in the Time of Cholera. She imagined her mother as a daisy, wilting in the sun.