What I remember most about her is that she loved roses. Even with all the pain, all the blame and recrimination, that's what first comes to my mind when I think of her.
I remember a morning, forever ago and a world away, in the apartment we shared; she was sitting in the breakfast nook with the windows open. A soft mist floated outside, droplets suspended in the air almost like smoke. She was cutting roses for an arrangement, a tiny crease of concentration on her pale forehead. My coffee cup was in my hand and the paper lay in my lap but except for the small movements of her hands and the drifting of the mist it was almost totally still. We sat like tiny figures in a snow globe.
The reverie was broken when she gave a small, "mm!" of pain; a drop of blood welled on her fingertip. She looked at it for a second, fascinated by the sight of her own blood, and put it to her lips. Only then did she notice me watching her and she smiled at me around her finger, a tiny smear of blood on her lower lip.
Even now, after all that followed, that's what I remember. What I choose to remember. When I can no longer keep myself from thinking about her, I close my eyes and recall the smell of roses.