Bernard reached down to pick up the home made card from his granddaughter Alice. It had fallen off the mantelpiece. He rested it back against the clock and smiled. The rest of his birthday cards had long gone, but he didn’t have the heart to throw this one away with the picture Alice had drawn of the two of them, complete with big smiles. There was a big tree behind them and he wondered if it was supposed to be the woods where they liked to go for a walk, though some days it was more of a shuffle for Bernard, to the nearest bench. Alice was always so patient though.
Bernard made another cup of tea and sat down. And then he remembered…. It was Carol’s day to come tomorrow, he better get ready.
Bernard glanced around the living room. It was far too tidy. He moved the carefully plumped, symmetrical cushions into a heap at one end of the sofa. He got his newspapers out of the rack and artfully folded them back into various positions placing them around the room.
“Mmmm! Not too bad. Now the kitchen.”
Bernard had already washed up after tea and everything had been wiped and put away. He had always been fairly neat and tidy, even when Betty was alive, and especially towards the end. It was nice to feel in control of something.
He made another cup of tea and dripped the tea bag over the surfaces and around the sink before sloshing the drink all over the place and then throwing it away. He got some food out of the cupboard and left it on the side. He took some clean plates and cutlery and plonked them on the draining board. He must remember not to wash up the breakfast things in the morning. Then he stood back to eye up his now dishevelled kitchen.
“Not bad, not bad.”