The picture on the mantelpiece

You slump in your chair as your son plays with the dog. It’s been a bad day but you try not to let it show. You’ve had weeks of bad days and it’s getting to you. Jasper squeals as he pulls Bertie’s tail and it’s all you can do to bite your tongue. Jasper watches you leave your chair and head for the dining room. Bertie follows you, glad of a distraction and hopeful that there might be something in it for him, although he knows his treats are kept in the kitchen.

You pour yourself a large scotch, they’re getting larger as the week goes on. It’s only Wednesday and at this rate you’ll forgo the glass. Emily would have said you have a problem but you’re grateful that’s she’s no longer around. She always had something to say and sometimes you couldn’t shut her up. But you found a way eventually.

Your head hurts. You take another swig of Glenfiddich which sooths the back of your throat. You switch off the TV and Jasper moans. “Off to bed now,” you say and he trundles upstairs with Bertie following, leaving you staring at the picture on the mantlepiece.


Photography courtesy of

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