Short Story Preview: Sid’s New Start
After Jill moved out in May, Sid found out how little belonged to him, and how much space was left behind. She’d chosen just about everything because he never minded much: blue or grey, stripes or spots, plain or wild, minimalist or baroque. It made no difference to Sid until he let it all go, along with her, and found himself rattling around between walls like a button in a shoe box. Out of place and a bit overwhelmed. Even the plants he’d come to regard with affectionate, fatherly interest in their progress were agreed to be hers, because she was the one who understood and met each one’s individual needs. So without her, the only living thing in his home – not counting the odd woodlouse or spider – was Sid himself. And for a while he felt as if that life force of his was dimmed, or on standby.
He did consider a dog but that would require more energy than he seemed to be able to muster, and he’d always considered cats suspect: otherworldly and sleek with contempt. For a few months, Sid tried to keep the garden as Jill had loved it, but it was tiring and much too full of her – more than the house, which she had a tendency to neglect in order to spend her time with the flowers. After the picture of her carrying the final case down the drive, his most recurrent memory was of a wife on a floral kneeling pad with a trowel, her matching gloves caked with mud. That she’d abandoned the borders, in spite of that commitment and the dreamy look she used to wear when the roses bloomed, spoke volumes that weighed him down. That she’d ended the marriage just as he approached sixty-five and well-deserved retirement, was another shout he couldn’t fail, in spite of hearing he now called “dodgy”, to hear.
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