Dorothy Poole settled herself with a cup of tea and a scone at the little patio table outside her apartment, Twix contentedly curled up beside her on the arm of the chair.
Today was the 6th of January, 12th Night, and time for the decorations to come down if they hadn’t been packed away already.
It was surprisingly mild, so it was nice to get out in the fresh air, though she was glad of Ted’s winter woolly, one of the few things she’d kept after he died.
Absent-mindedly stroking Twix, she closed her eyes and thought about Ted.
They’d got married on her 21st birthday, he being almost a year older.
It had been a very quiet affair, she wore her Sunday best, he his only suit, and they had a night away in Brighton as it was all they could afford.
He’d come with a cat called Misty, so called because in the morning or evening mist his colouring made him also invisible. Dorothy was really a dog person, but Ted loved cats so they always had one and she never minded. There were photos everywhere of either herself or Ted with a cat, though they never had two the same.
She’d found Ted asleep in his favourite chair with the cat of the time curled up on his lap, both as stiff as boards.
He’d been gone thirty years now and she still missed him. She’d be ninety this birthday and had kept her promise every year.
They’d never been blessed with children, Dorothy suffering three miscarriages in as many years, the final one resulting in a full hysterectomy, but they were happy and that was all that mattered.
Ted had been a master carpenter and had fitted their little house out with cupboards and shelves all custom-made to make the most of the limited space they had. She’d made gingham curtains for the kitchen and bathroom, hand embroidered towels and pillow cases, and they’d both learned to cook as he believed it shouldn’t all be down to the ‘little woman’.
It had broken her heart when she had to move into one of the warden assisted condos after a stroke, but as things had turned out, it wasn’t too bad.
Jerry was a great warden, taking an interest and looking out for his residents. It was thanks to him that she had Twix, though technically speaking after Tom died, she shouldn’t have been allowed another pet.
It was getting chilly now, so time to go in. Twix rolled over, yawned and got up, knowing it was dinner time. He was good company and kept her warm on these wintry nights. Sometimes when she heard him purring heavily in his sleep she felt Ted was beside her.
The thought made her smile.