Bryan Minear unsplash.com

Desolation

Carole Marples

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I’d lain rigid in bed for hours. The bed Joe and I had shared for fifty years.

The dawn chorus had been and gone. The chattering school children had passed by, and the cars all departed.

The ormolu clock, a wedding present from someone long forgotten, ticked away on the shelf.

Our room was stifling. Sweat trickled down my face, but Joe's body lay cold.

His sharp, pincer fingers had gripped my arm in the night.

"Quick, woman, my tablets. Now."

As his desperate cries fell on deaf ears, his panic rose.

"My sleeping pills had knocked me out."

That's what I'll say.

His tablets were on the bedside table, only---

"They must have fallen on to the floor beyond his reach."

That's what I'll say.

It didn't take long for his life to cease.

"You old bitch," were Joe's last words.

I can live with that. Peace at last.

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