The hands of the grandfather clock danced around his ivory face, age transparent behind his polished body. Alison watched in a trance like state, wondering if they were aware that this would be their last dance together within these floral walls.
She dabbled the wet that ran between the heavy lines circling her mouth and looked away. She pleaded with Arthur, who now only appeared in picture frames around the home that was once theirs. She silently asked him to help her through the day.
The auctioneer had arrived dressed in a veil of pity and she eyed him suspiciously. He spoke to her in a smooth, hushed voice, the extent of his pleasantries so well executed she just knew he must have done this a hundred times before. She wondered how many trinkets it took him to sell before he purchased the fine linen suit he was wearing. Or how many family heirlooms did he convince its once trusted owner to part with before he chose the shiny convertible that now displayed in her driveway?
As bodies arrived, they carried thick air in with them, leaving small pools of greed on the Persian rug as they shuffled around the table of hors d’oeuvres. Alison resented every single one of them as she watched them looking about the room at the belongings that had been her life. A lifetime of memories, tagged with numbers. Moments that were now to be sold for much less than a currency of sentiments would charge.
When the proceedings got underway, she was introduced with a gesture of thanks, before being dismissed. Money was now the objective, not her. She took to the stairs and slowly climbed to the silence of her room, not wanting another moment in the company of the vultures that contributed to the changing of time. Merrywether Residence was an expensive, but comfortable option, she had been told. Her daughter Harriet felt far from her these days. It seemed to Alison that the responsibilities of an elderly mother were too great for her to continue with, and although she loved her, she resented her just as much.
She lay face to the ceiling on her bed and closed her eyes. As the sound of foreign voices began to fade under a sheet of sleep that took hold, her mind sent her far from the bitter thoughts of Merrywether and Harriet. There in her descent from life she felt a calmness overcome her. In a silent setting, Arthur approached her with slow steps at the end of an unfamiliar peer. As he took her hand she dropped her head on his shoulder before they fell towards the blanket of blue fanning below them. Her body sunk without struggle, happy to now be by her loves side. There was no reaching for light, or gasping of breath, and the ease in which gravity guided her was only encouraged by Arthur, who seemed familiar to it all. She let him lead the way.
Her motives behind her departure may have been her reluctance to find life in another home, with new friends and a daily schedule of craft lessons and occasional visitors, but this life was one she refused to accept.
Arthur knew her too well. And so her life would end here, just where theirs had began.