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A Sweet Suspended Moment (standard:other, 1498 words)
Author: Gavin J. CarrAdded: Nov 16 2005Views/Reads: 1753/1082Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
There’s always something around the corner waiting to ambush you, some memory, or unexpected memento.

She opened her eyes. The light from the blinds slanted across the room,
throwing prison bar shadows across her face. 

For a moment she was content to do nothing.  She was between sleep and
wakefulness in that happy state where memory did not exist. But all at 
once she began to remember and the feeling of dread, which she had 
carried inside her like a poison foetus for the past three days, once 
again seized her, radiating outwards from her heart in an sickly wave. 

He was dead. 

She kicked the covers off her body and sat up on her elbows.  The clock
on the wall said quarter past ten.  She had overslept. 

Overslept for what? she thought.  Bill was gone and there was really no
reason for her to get up.  Every weekday morning for the past 
twenty-eight years she had rose at seven to make him a cup of tea and 
to cook his breakfast.  He was (he'd been she corrected herself) a busy 
man, selling advertising space for a radio station in the city.  It was 
a job he'd hated, but like most people he'd long ago come to the 
conclusion that no-one had a job they loved.  Tolerated, yes.  
Sometimes liked, maybe.  But loved?  Love was for chocolate boxes and 
racy romance novels.  For your family and your wife.  But never for 
your work – work was work. 

On weekends the pattern would be reversed and it was Bill who would get
up and cook her breakfast.  She used to lie, savouring the luxury of 
having the bed to herself, and move her feet to his side.  The 
bedclothes would still be warm and she would feel his body heat 
clinging to the sheets like a comforting memory. 

Now she was frightened to move.  Bill's side would be cold, and somehow,
if she were to feel that cold, it would be the most terrible thing of 
all.  The final, irrefutable proof of his absence. 

She sat up fully and swung her legs out of bed.  Although it was winter
outside, the room was warm, the central heating firing earlier that 
morning.  The carpet felt good beneath her feet, almost sensuous, and 
she felt a momentary stab of shame that she could derive pleasure from 
material comfort.  Surely she was a bad person to be thinking such 

The temptation to crawl back into bed was almost overwhelming.  Somehow
it was easier to face things when she was cocooned under the covers.  
She could lie on her side and bring her knees up.  Pull the sheets over 
her head and close her eyes.  It was just like a womb she realised.  A 
king-sized, orthopaedically sprung womb. 

She let out a sigh and got to her feet.  Life goes on.  It was almost a
cliché - the brave widow, trying to keep herself busy, soldiering on – 
but it was really the only way to deal with things. 

She remembered her own mother after her father had died.  A week after
the funeral she had dropped in to visit and found her in the kitchen.  
The room was littered with baking trays and half-filled bowls.  Wooden 
spoons stood upright in thick dollops of cake mix.  Flour, sugar and 
the odd, solitary raisin sprinkled the worktops, while the greasy smear 
of butter glistened on the cupboard doors. 

She had stood there and watched her mother, sympathising, thinking she
knew what she was going through. 

Her mother was looking haggard and the muscles in her forearm stood out,
knotted and stark as she gripped the spoon and mixed flour and an egg 

“Got to keep busy, luv,” she'd said.  “There's a Church fete on Saturday
and the vicar's asked me to do some baking.  Best to keep busy.”  And 
she'd nodded and offered to help.  Thinking she understood, when she 
understood nothing. 

Well she understood now.  It was keep busy or brood; devour herself in a
grizzly act of auto-cannibalism. 

She put on her dressing gown and slippers and went down the stairs.  She

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