outwait outrun outwit


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Today I noticed Joan, my new, recently widowed downstairs neighbour, in the hallway outside her door, unwrapping knickknacks and lining the windowsills with small framed pictures, Lladro angels, crystal vases, and gilt plates bought on trips abroad. She was trying to lighten her boxes before bringing them into her flat. So I carried in her boxes, for which she insisted on giving me a box of chocolates.

During the move, a photo album she used to keep the door ajar fell over and a photo slipped out, yellowed with age. Joan’s young face peered out at me, her hand clasped by a man who is dead now. A pang darted through me, as I sensed a possible future of mine. The undoing of partnership by time, by our fragile mortality, leaving photos and knickknacks to tell our stories of being-together. I thought: Cherish this time.

After I told her D. was away, Joan said, with a wry smile, We’re grass widows.


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