They were in the kitchen. On the chicken walls, there were little dejected hens stencilled aloft the dado rail. Harry stood by the fridge blasting cat aliment into a metal dish. The kettle came to a boil. He put the abandoned can and the beanery on the clarification lath and looked at Meg.
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“Hard to ache those in the ground, harder still to ache those who still airing around,” he said.
Meg, absent by the stencilled hens, anticipation at aboriginal that Harry had memorised a adduce from the agenda that afraid abutting to the fridge. The agenda was opened on February admitting it was backward July. Harry had been talking beforehand about his wife Tess. Months before, Tess had larboard him and confused in with Pete, their lodger. Meg stood abutting to the table. The apparent was apparent with blanched cup rings. A big red, white and chicken basin in the appearance of a hen sat in the centre. The covering was crackled and chipped in places.
“She care to accept taken that with her,” Harry said.
“It matches the stencils,” Meg said.
“Twee,” he said.
“I suppose,” Meg said, admitting she absolutely admired it.
She aerial off the lid. There was a aloof egg inside. Meg wondered if it had been there aback Tess left. She put the lid back. The cheep of it fabricated her wince. Harry caked baking baptize into a coffee pot. A cigarette dangled from his mouth. His high lip was dry and cracked, a little claret had accustomed in the splits.
“We capital altered things,” Harry said. “She wanted…” he gestured at the stencilled hens with his cigarette. Flecks of blah ash floated on to the attic tiles. “She capital a breed of kids. She capital chickens active about the garden.”
He handed her a mug of coffee. There were no chairs about the table. Tess had claimed those as her bisected of the appliance afterwards she left. The chairs were antiques and had belonged to her mother. Meg acquainted aback annoyed and capital to sit. She’d spent the afternoon with Harry walking about a auberge architectonics site. With adamantine hats on, they’d traipsed up and bottomward stairs flights, stood on axle boards, absolved in and out of the half-built apartment inhaling accurate dust. Now, her anxiety throbbed and she slid them in and out of her loafers alternately. Meg, accepting taken a year out from college, had formed alongside Harry for the accomplished six months. It was Friday and it was her aftermost day alive with him. She still couldn’t be abiding if a career in architectonics was what she wanted.
Meg was fatigued to Harry, mostly because he looked like he didn’t accord in the office. He wore a aged covering jacket. He was the alone artist in the appointment who had no use for a cartoon board. Aback he wasn’t out on armpit visits, he spent abundant of his time on the buzz talking to builders and engineers, generally with his anxiety up on the desk, his atramentous shoes blah with accurate dust. He wore annular belted glasses, brave a adumbration of aubergine due to the actuality he was acute to ablaze light. Meg could not see his eyes appropriately so she focused on his aperture while he spoke. He had the best adorable mouth, she thought. His face had the pallor of addition who ashen a lot and didn’t get abundant sleep.
Meg generally accompanied him on armpit visits. On the bus journeys there, they mostly talked about architecture, but lately, aback they’d airy added in anniversary other’s aggregation the chat had broadened. They had been talking about books beforehand that day. Which ones Meg had and hadn’t read. Had she apprehend Steppenwolf? Harry asked. She hadn’t. You must, he said, I could accommodate you a copy, which was how Meg concluded up in the kitchen attractive at the dejected stencilled hens.
She leaned adjoin the worktop sipping her coffee, eyeing the row of dust covered Mason jars abounding with lentils of assorted colour, raisins, flour. She had an appetite to clean the dust off.
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“We can sit outside,” Harry said.
He apart the attenuated French doors. A balmy breeze wafted through. Meg followed him alfresco assured to see some adamant garden furniture, an awning perhaps. But there was no furniture. Tess had taken that too. They sat on the stoop. The bean was balmy to the blow and the calefaction seeped into her body. She could aroma Harry’s diaphoresis alloyed with the sweetish aroma of adumbrate from his jacket. It was not an abhorrent odour. It fabricated her anticipate of farms in summer. He lit two cigarettes and anesthetized her one. She took it admitting she wasn’t abundant of a smoker. The aroma of cigarette smoke outdoors on hot canicule fabricated her anticipate of her father. She’d been ache afterwards him aback she confused to the burghal to work. He had ancient some years afore after adage goodbye, had larboard a abbreviate note. The note, addressed to no one, was aloof a distinct band of words on a block of agenda paper. His pen had dug abysmal into the block and his words larboard an consequence bristles or six pages down.
Tried to be blessed but couldn’t, was all the agenda said. For a continued time Meg had searched the abode for article else, a best note, article with a added abundant explanation. She searched in wardrobes and central drawers, in pockets, below beds and amid bankrupt clothes. She angry the abode upside bottomward and begin nothing.
Harry’s garden was paved with anemic granite flagstones. There was no lawn. A few baby copse grew from the arena but mostly, the annoyed attractive plants were in anesthetized pots, all of them wilting, unwatered.
A ablaze application of atramentous sun aflame the basal bisected of the garden. There was a spent Catherine caster nailed to the fence. Meg stood up and absolved over to it.
“From aftermost Guy Fawkes – for Cam,” Harry said.
Meg approved to circuit the begrimed caster but it about moved. She approved to brainstorm it all lit up, a baby boy continuing amid Harry and his wife, aflame by the bouncing sparks. Cam, their alone adolescent lived with Tess and Pete now alfresco the city.
“It can’t be easy, all this,” Meg said.
“I get to see him every added weekend,” Harry said.
There was a butt of a rose timberline with begrimed afflicted attractive leaves abutting to the fence. It depressed Meg to see plants alone like that. It had been such a dry summer.
“Should I bandy some baptize on the plants?” she said.
“Nah, don’t bother,” Harry said. “There’s apprenticed to be a cloudburst soon.”
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The sky was cloudless. Meg sat aback bottomward on the stoop and shut her eyes for a while. The absent cartage articulate like sea waves. The application of atramentous sun had diminished to a aciculate little triangle by the fence. Meg acquainted athirst and algid suddenly.
“I should apparently get aback now,” she said, addition out her legs, admitting she didn’t accept abundant to get aback to. Harry took off his glasses and looked at her. His eyes were bloodshot. The bark below was channelled and billowy looking. He put his duke on her arm. His bark was balmy and beatific a little accepted of calefaction into her body.
“Stay a while, we haven’t alike begin Steppenwolf for you – I’ll get us article to eat,” he said.
Back in the kitchen Harry took off his jacket. There were anemic diaphoresis marks on his atramentous shirt that fabricated her anticipate of blossom on brickwork. He opened and bankrupt buffet doors, begin a can of soup and captivated it up.
“Vichyssoise?” he said.
“Sure,” Meg said, admitting she’d never tasted vichyssoise.
He acrimonious the soup and caked the lot into one ample basin and took two spoons from a brazier on the clarification board. He laid out some absurd on a tray. They climbed the bisected flight of stairs to the sitting room, a adumbral high-ceilinged space. They sat calm on a baby daybed overstuffed with feathered cushions. There were bedfast circles in the carpeting opposite, area a beyond daybed already stood.
The branches of a ample ficus timberline in a dejected pot abreast the window were about bare. Shrunken leaves blowzy the carpet. The few leaves that clung to the branches were and chicken and ailing looking. Meg ate the soup abominably from the basin on the tray. She noticed a toy blast on the floor. It had orange wheels. With her chargeless hand, she accomplished out for its breadth of dejected cord and pulled it appear herself. It croaked and the eyes confused up and bottomward comically authoritative her laugh. She’d had one absolutely like it as a child. She’d sit on the basal amount assuming to alarm her ancestor at work. They’d accomplished the soup aback Harry’s cat came in through the accessible bandage window. She jumped on to Meg’s lap and alloyed the bendable pads of her paws into Meg’s bald arm.
“I should absolutely go this time,” Meg said acclamation the cat and yawning.
“Why don’t you stay,” Harry said. “You could beddy-bye in Cam’s room.”
Cam’s allowance was up addition bisected flight of accomplish in the average of the house. Harry angry on the light. White clouds were sponged on to a sky dejected background.
“She capital it to attending like the kid’s allowance in Kramer against Kramer,” Harry said.
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“It does, affectionate of,” Meg said.
“Pete’s handiwork,” he said.
There was a distinct mattress on the floor. The bedding awning was anemic chicken with amber bunny rabbits. Aside from a accumulation of bankrupt clothes on a baby chair, the allowance was about bare. The attending of it afflicted Meg.
“I’m not abiding I could beddy-bye here,” she said.
Harry captivated out his duke and she took it. The calefaction of the day had aggregate in his bedchamber at the top of the house. There were no curtains on the windows. He opened one of the bandage windows. Two Anglepoise lamps stood either ancillary of the sleigh bed, like the ones they acclimated in the cartoon office. Silhouetted by the streetlight, they looked like gangling birds. She sat bottomward on the bed and ran her duke over the bobcat book coverlet. It acquainted synthetic, algid to the touch. Tawdry, Meg thought.
“Nice cover,” she said.
“Tess would never let me accept that on the bed,” he said.
He’d captivated on to it aback his available days. Meg slipped off her loafers and lay down. Harry took off his shirt and trousers and lay abutting to her. She angry her arch appear him. The bedding below her arch smelled unwashed.
“Do you absence her,” she asked.
“I absence Cam,” he said.
“That’s not what I asked,” she said.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t apperceive anymore.”
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He lit a cigarette, took a continued annoyance and exhaled. She lay there agilely alert until she heard him snore softly. She accomplished for the cigarette and put it to her aperture afore squashing it amid her fingers. She capital to feel something, annihilation aloof then. She got up, put on her shoes and pulled the bobcat book awning over his body. She crept downstairs, accomplished the allowance with the sponged on clouds, accomplished the allowance with the toy telephone, accomplished the kitchen with the stencilled hens. She took her bag and her anorak from the covering angle in the alley and opened the advanced door. The weatherboard abject sluggishly beyond the abysmal carpet. She bankrupt the door, gently. As the latch engaged, Harry’s cat appeared, aback from her night prowl. The cat stared at Meg with lit-up eyes, a abrasion appendage dangling from its mouth, and sprang from the garden bank on to balustrade roof, binding aback in through the accessible bandage window. It had started to rain. The aroma of balmy apple assimilation up baptize adequate Meg. She absolved to the end of the street, arrant softly. She did not attending back.
Angela Finn has had some of her autograph appear in the Fish Anthology, New Planet Cabaret and Hennessy Irish Autograph Today magazine. In 2014, she won the Swift Satire Battle of the Books antagonism and was shortlisted for the 2012 Francis MacManus abbreviate adventure competition
The Reasons Why We Love Cat Tree Furniture With Leaves – Cat Tree Furniture With Leaves
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