George Carter

Eight by Ten

 I donít really recall how I came to be here:
 My only memory is that of cool linen sheets soft candlelight and whispers that seemed to invade every corner of the room. There was the warmth of a trembling hand and a smile but I recall sadness in the eyes. Then light bright welcoming and sound gentle lilting as if flowers dancing on the breeze then here I was. It is the strangest of sensations I see everything and yet go unobserved. I have no sensation of movement no sense of feeling and now as darkness gives way to dawn an arrival. Mary look at her in her thick cotton nightdress see how she trembles slightly with the cold, her toes seeking the reassurance of her well worn slippers. She looks older and more tired than I remember the light seems to have gone from her eyes. Now she fills the kettle her hand continues to tremble and then a match flares there is the faintest pop as bright blue flame erupts from the cooker. I hadnít noticed earlier but Toby the cat is purring at her ankles he had wondered into the house eleven years ago and had stayed ever since he had taken an instant dislike to Mary and only sheathed his claws when hunger gripped his belly. But Mary loved him as she did all animals. The whistle on the kettle is suddenly very distracting. Mary is removing it from the heat and stands for a moment warming her fingers close to the flame; she turns off the gas and reaches towards a shelf two white porcelain mugs sit as if waiting for an invitation. She seems lost in thought distracted but then eventually she removes one and places it on the work surface soon the mug is transformed as if alive it breathes steam as she stirs quietly with a spoon. The lid of the biscuit barrel resists her attempts to remove it but with one final effort it comes free exposing the contents. Mary selects a digestive picks up the mug and moves towards me she stops suddenly and with an effort born of age finally manages to sit down on one of the chairs next to the small table. I watch in silence as she breaks the biscuit into smaller pieces dunking it quickly i! nto the still steaming tea until finally savouring the flavour. She sips from the mug carefully there is a small sigh with the realization that it is too hot. What is she doing now itís a ring she has removed a ring from a chain around her neck it seems to have taken forever but there was determination in her effort. Oh no I see tears unashamedly running down her cheeks she draws the ring nearer her sight not what it used to be. There are memories in her eyes she seems transformed, somehow younger the lines on her features smoother. Whatís happening she is turning has she seen me no thatís not possible is it? wait sheís reaching thereís a smile on her face. She knows, the look in her eyes tells me she knows
ďArthur I miss youĒ she carefully returned the eight by ten to its rightful place on the wall  ††††
I donít really recall how I came to be here


All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of George Carter.
Published on on 11/19/2010.


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