For better or worse. But surely not this. His savings squandered on useless trinkets. His house awash with figurines and knick knacks.

‘Just buy the damn thing and be done with it.’ He thought about Jean and the loneliness that had swamped him after her death. And how he’d fallen for Glenda thinking that she could fill the void.

It had been a year now and he knew how sour things had become. Glenda, for her part, seemed oblivious. ‘I’ve never seen a signed one in such good condition.’ She turned the porcelain dog over in the light. And when he handed her the cash for it she kissed him—bright red lipstick smearing on his cheek. The overpowering tang of too much bottled scent enveloped him.

If Jean had worn perfume it had always been no more than a hint of spring flowers. She’d used makeup modestly, if at all. Just enough to accentuate her smile.

His eyes began watering—nothing more than a reaction to the acrid waft of fragrance.

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