Youth Of Today

Entry by: EmmaCLP

17th February 2016
Inside the church, Brett chose the most inconspicuous seat he could find. A tall, thin man in a dusty morning suit and scuffed trainers handed him the order of service and told him the Trevelyan family would be sitting in the front pews on the right-hand side of the church. Anxious to avoid them at all costs, Brett opted for a left-hand pew halfway down. To make doubly sure that he would be out of their line of vision, he positioned himself behind a large stone pillar.

As the pews filled up, Brett scanned the order of service. A photograph of Eve Trevelyan was emblazoned across the front cover – a fair-haired beauty in denim overalls standing in front of a vast oil painting. Unable to bear her quizzical gaze, he swiftly turned the page. His eyes were immediately drawn to three names. Jemima, Stella and Rose Trevelyan were all giving tributes to their mother. That would be a tough call. How could they stand before a packed congregation and bare their souls?

Forty-five minutes later, the service was over. As the bitter sweet strains of Pachelbel’s Canon filled the church, the pallbearers, stiff-backed and sombre, bore Eve’s coffin slowly back down the aisle. Her three daughters followed behind, Jemima with her arm around a weeping Rose, Stella a couple of steps behind.

‘I can’t believe Stella’s wearing red,’ whispered Jemima. ‘We all agreed to wear black.’

Rose didn’t reply. In truth it had been Jemima who’d insisted on funereal black. But the message either hadn’t got through or had been ignored. Actually, Rose suspected their mother would have rather approved of Stella’s show-stopping scarlet frock and sky-high heels.

‘I liked what you said about Ma,’ she mumbled.

‘And I’d completely forgotten about you scribbling all over one of her manuscripts when you were little,' said Jemima. ‘But instead of getting cross with you she just laughed.’

Rose’s dark eyes filled with tears. When it came to writing her eulogy she hadn’t known where to begin. How could she explain what growing up with Eve had been like? It would take a lifetime to put it into words.

As the group emerged into the churchyard, the clouds lifted and shards of sunlight criss-crossed the grass. Jemima and Rose shot each other a relieved smile. Despite the gravity of the occasion it felt like a sign. A sign from their mother that in their own muddled ways they’d done her proud.

Brett sidled shiftily out of a side door, making a concerted effort not to catch anyone’s eye. He felt his heart lurch as he watched the pall bearers place Eve’s lily-strewn coffin inside the hearse. How was it possible that he'd never see her again? Then, annoyed with himself for caring, he walked briskly back through the graveyard. Sentimentality didn't suit him. Never had, never would.

Reaching the pavement, he glanced back at the throng around his lover’s daughters. The girls were all lookers, there was no doubt about that, especially the blonde in the red dress. But it was Eve who stayed in his head – and always would. Her girls, with their soft skin and flowing hair, were young and beautiful but they were no match for their mother in her prime. Eve's wildness and charm outdid the youth of today on every level.

Brett strode through the church gate and towards a small café at the end of the street. He’d filed from there loads of times in the past and he knew he’d find a quiet corner to compose his story, safely away from his memories.

He ordered a double espresso, wrenched off his funeral tie and took his laptop out of his bag.

‘Glamorous, big-hearted, one of the most talented writers of our age,’ he wrote.

‘Those were just a few of the glowing tributes paid to celebrated novelist Eve Trevelyan at her funeral in London today.

‘The pretty church of St Margaret’s in Ladbroke Grove was packed with mourners, many of them writers themselves and mostly wearing traditional black. Her three daughters – Jemima, Stella and Rose – all spoke about their mother.

‘"She was the most loving, inspiring, dazzling mother anyone could ever have,” said Rose, her youngest child, words that brought tears to many of the two-hundred-strong congregation. “She adored us and we adored her. We’re devastated to have lost her. The only consolation for all of us is that her words will remain and her beauty will never fade. In our minds she will always be forever young...”'