Remy passed through the cemetery at twilight on a brisk November evening. The sky along the horizon looking out to the vast Pacific Ocean was a rich tapestry of reds and oranges. The sky directly above was a brilliant shade of lavender which gave way to the deep, rich blues that faded to black over the eastern horizon.
Remy looked up and through the lavender in the sky, the first of the stars were beginning to twinkle. He saw Abigail’s star, lazily hanging over the Pacific following the sun. Her star was actually Venus, the planet named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. How appropriate, he thought, that Abbey’s star was the planet Venus.
Remy remembered the first time he ever set eyes on Abigail. They were on a cruise from Le Harve, France to Portsmouth, England, and finally to New York City. It was the third day after leaving Portsmouth he was ambling on the deck early in the morning when he saw Abbey watching the sun rise leaning on the railing. Being the consummate Frenchman, he thought quick on his feet and grabbed the nearest set of flowers he could find, three-day old lavender blossoms that were beginning to wilt in salty ocean air.
“Pardonnez-moi, mademoiselle,” he said softly not trying to startle her. Abbey jumped anyway and put her hand to her heart.
“Oh my, you gave me a scare!” Abbey giggled.
“For you,” Remy said in his seductive French accent holding up the flowers to her. “I am sorry they appear to be old but, you see, this was the best they had out here.” He waved his hand over the vast ocean before them and handed her the bouquet of flowers. Remy saw the twinkle in her eye when she looked up at him while smelling the lavender blossoms. In that moment, he knew he would marry her. Years later, she would confess to him that she too knew in that very same moment she would marry him.
“They’re beautiful. Thank you.” She involuntarily shivered, partly from the chill in the air and partly from the effect Remy had on her. She turned around and watched the sun peek its face above the horizon. Remy took his jacket off and put it over her shoulders. She could smell his cologne and she closed her eyes and leaned back into him. After a few moments like this together they began to talk and walk which would last for hours that day. One of the first things they talked about was the ‘morning star’, which Abbey refered to as hers. He explained it was Venus and that sometimes it was seen in the west as the ‘evening star’.
They were very nearly together every moment the rest of the trip to New York under the watchful, albeit very tired eye of her tutor, who also served as guardian on her grand tour of Europe.
Determined to make a name for himself and to win Abbey’s family over, he made a small fortune for himself with some shrewd, if not shady, business deals in New York. He would not let Abbey’s father think he was to marry her for her money. Abbey’s father was a gold speculator and had also made a small fortune mining for gold. He established other businesses and ventures and was very well-known and respected in the whole of Northern California even before Abbey was born.
Remy smiled fondly at the memories he had of Abbey and the life they built together. He smelled the fresh bouquet in his hands and looked up to Abbey’s star with a tear in his eye. “I love you more than anything, ma chère,” he said in his still thick French accent. He put the flowers on her grave, said a silent prayer and walked away. He strolled for a little bit enjoying the solitude, but still wishing his Abbey was walking beside him. He left the cemetery and vanished under the gated archway on Evergreen Street amid the noise and bustle of Santa Cruz in the early 21st century.
Shortly before Abbey’s 50th birthday in 1919, she would succumb to the ravages of the Spanish flu epidemic. It left Remy heartbroken, and every year he would put lavender flowers on her memorial headstone in Evergreen cemetary on their wedding anniversary. Remy was buried beside his beloved wife in 1935.
Every year, people will find bruised and wilted lavender blossoms on Abigail’s grave. The legend says that Remy’s ghost still puts the flowers on the grave on their wedding anniversary and the flowers wilt and age because they pass from their world to ours. Nobody has ever seen the ghost or any fresh flowers and, therefore, nobody really knows the true story of The Lavender Flowers.