Kim looked out across the expanse of shimmering turquoise water and sighed. Santorini was just perfect with its neat sugar cube houses clinging to the cliffs and yachts bobbing like white butterflies along the rugged coastline. She was looking forward to eating a fresh Greek salad laden with ripe vine tomatoes and sipping a cool glass of Ouzo at a local taverna for lunch. The sun had bleached her long wavy hair even blonder and her normally pale skin had tanned to a fetching shade of honey. She ran her toes through the hot golden sand and closed her eyes, listening to the hum of the crickets and squall of seagulls flying in the cloudless blue sky.
She thought back to her wedding day all those years ago. As they made their vows the waves had lapped in gentle folds upon the beach, the sky melting in a golden and russet haze. Then they had danced beneath the stars as a local had gently strummed romantic tunes on his guitar. They had always promised to come back to Santorini for their silver anniversary.
Now they could afford to stay in the air-conditioned 5-star hotel with its deep infinity pool, rather than in a cramped sweaty chalet with mosquitoes and faulty plumbing. The luxurious hotel had a cool marbled lobby and their room had a 4 poster bed overlooking the Aegean Sea. The discrete staff daily folded the towels in the shapes of exotic animals and decorated the spacious room with fresh fragrant flowers. She had treated herself to a spa treatment that morning, having her back massaged with frangipani oil on the spa terrace as she listened to the gentle murmur of the ocean. Her skin was now fragrant and silky smooth.
That evening she got ready for their sunset tour of the coastline. She applied coral lipstick and swept her hair back into a classy chignon. She painted her toenails emerald green to match her eyes and smoothed down her white off the shoulder lacy dress. In the hazy summer light her crows’ feet weren’t quite so visible and she felt so young again. She always liked to look her best for him. Dan had always called her his white butterfly with her platinum blonde hair. He would often call her Kimana as that meant butterfly and told her that pure white butterflies were very rare. He had always made her feel so special.
As Kim stepped on to the yacht the captain handed her a glass of champagne and she looked out at the crimson sunset. It was perfect. As the boat glided out of the harbour and into the bay she opened her pink beach bag and removed a silver box. It was time to say goodbye. She removed the lid and watched the cooling sea breeze sweep away Dan’s ashes into the sea – his favourite place. ‘Happy anniversary Dan,’ she whispered, letting a tear run down her honeyed cheek, musing that life was fleeting and often as fragile as a white butterfly.