old lady 625903Angela has her rituals. The week timed to the minute; bed at 11, up at 8, then depending on the day, she’s collected to go shopping, a ‘do’ at the library or lunch at the village café. In between she gardens, watches a bit of TV or reads. She loves to know about peoples’ lives – one impression on TV, another in a book. Fiction doesn’t interest her, although she suspects there is some in the biographies, so picks autobiographies where she can, from the celebrities’ own pens, although she suspects that there is more than one person holding that pen.

If asked whether she likes living alone, she’d say a definitive ‘no’. Alone and lonely? Yes. She can’t understand anyone living alone to not be lonely. To her, humans are monogamous creatures; destined to live in pairs, although she suspects some are more successful than others.

Her pairing had been successful, for nearly 50 years. Until he died.

She suspects that her daughter is lonely. She always puts on a brave face when visiting, but Angela can see her eyes dull when she thinks her mum isn’t looking. She, her daughter, hasn’t mentioned a man for years. Angela suspects there might be a woman and she wouldn’t mind if there was. She’s accepted the lack of grandchildren, dotes on her daughter’s dog, but just wants her to be happy.

Angela wonders whether her daughter doesn’t mention things because she, Angela, has stopped listening. It’s not that she doesn’t want to know. She thinks she should make more of an effort but then she’ll have forgotten to do so by the time her daughter next visits or phones.

Angela doesn’t phone. She thinks she’s disturbing. Her daughter’s busy, getting busier as the frequency of calls and visits diminish. Like Angela’s working brain cells. She suspects it’ll be a slow process. Hopes. No-one’s noticed yet, or at least not said anything. But then with a memory like hers… no, she’d remember that. She remembers the important things: birthdays, anniversaries, her anniversary… August 1st. It’s coming up soon and she’s dreading it. 50 years, two without him.

She’s tired today, more than usual. She decides to have a lie down, rest her arthritic knees and racing brain. She suspects it’ll still be active, reactive, when she wakes. She just hopes it won’t be for much longer.

***

This story was taken from my Story A Day May 2011 collection. Photograph above courtesy of morguefile.com.

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