“We’ll have the pie for dinner she yells across the flat. Her husband is in the kitchen making tea. He does that every day, and helps her dress, discussing the days fresh problems and her approach. Today he will be at home while she goes off to work.
So he has for more years than she can count, quietly tendered to her daily needs. Not given to boasting but soothing in his way. Driving towards her office she changes gear. Not in her car but somewhere in her head. Focussing on the busy day ahead.
Soon at work the business grips her mind. The unforgiving pressure must be faced, and battles fought for what she must get done. So here she is, sitting at a desk. Explaining this and that. The spread sheets make her case and all agree she should implement the changes she sees fit. Exhausted but relieved she packs her case and starts to put her papers in their place, thanking her boss for his support.
A man walks in looking slightly grey. “The hospital is on the phone, your husbands taken ill.” Fear rising she moves to take the call, speaking her name and asking what is wrong. “I’m very sorry” a voice says in her ear. “Your husband died this morning; heart attack. We tried to help him but there was nothing we could do. ”
Raising her eyes she looks around the room. The colours drained from this now average view. Her papers untended say nothing that can help. Work loses meaning and so she must escape. Her concerned boss tells her I’m so sorry about your news. She nods her thanks and quickly leaves the place.
Soon she is sitting in some empty space. Empty but for her husband on the bed. Peaceful silent but grey around the mouth. He might be sleeping but he will not stir. She tries to speak but her voice has ceased to work. She looks to him for comfort: she always does: his silent presence slipping from her life. At last she moves and kneels beside his head. “You silly fool” is all that she can say. Plans and hopes have left her life for now. He spoke no warning, never said that he felt ill. This man who stood beside her all these years, shaking his head at her swiftly changing plans. Her ballast and her rudder all in one.
The glance that said so much is lost to her. A memory held but fading in her heart. Those reassurances that they could sort it out, and “it” kept changing with the march of time seem empty now as tears fall on her dress.
Back home she looks around the world they shared. Holiday snaps and pictures from his youth. A still reminder of what it is she’s lost. This man who loved her and never gauged the cost. Moving blindly, clinging to the day she moves towards the fridge to make some tea. Sitting there right before her eyes. That pie prepared and ready for their meal. His final plan forever incomplete.