The mourners stood around him eating cakes and sandwiches not made by him. Some catering company he employed to do the work, did the work while he stood near a corner of the room, watching his guests share memories of his wife and stain the carpet with their drink and crumbs. He, who hated fuss above all else, and kept emotions strictly under wraps, nodded as each passing face offering him comfort and support, not realising that all he longed for was their silence. Mavis, his wife now deceased, who spelt reflection with the word ‘Abyss’ had filled his life with whims and groundless fears, till her death offered him relief and left him with the chance to dream once more, and sit and watch the natural world and catch his breath.
So thorough was his daily care of her that those around her wondered at his discreet gentleness and diligent support for one who loved hysteria as if it were her only child. In fact, by chance or was it luck, the union had proved fruitless in that way, and wardrobes full of dresses and shoes would be her brief legacy.
He loved her without doubt, but more for herself than him, he always thought, and sought to ease her constant anxieties. Strangely once she knew that she must die, courage came from somewhere in her heart bringing its dignity to her passing. She, who made a fuss of everything, and thought a chipped cup a calamity, faced her death with humour and her spoken thought that, “You’ll be alright,” was her last comment as her husband sat beside her on the bed.
He, who for years had lived within his wife’s concerns, alone at last, could set his dreams alight, or so he thought. He might explore and get to know people he had not yet met, and tread the path to discovery, and taste adventure ungoverned by her fears.
But now alone, and challenged by his imagination, he realised the very door that kept this world beyond his reach, gave him the licence to shape its landscape and possibilities without cost. As he reflected thus, a wave of sadness startling in its suddenness, swept through him as he realised how her concerns had shielded him from himself, and allowed him his whimsies without risk. Nothing, he finally understood, makes a dream more frightening than it becoming possible