Companion piece

The family thought it was a shame Aunty Jen hadn’t found someone new after Uncle Keith. They’d been such a solid couple, never as happy as when they were in each other’s company.

But Jen was always her own woman. When she got back on her feet her energies went into one of the passions she and Keith had shared. She started buying antiques and selling them at markets and online. She proved an adept judge.

Visiting a trash and treasure market with her I noticed an art nouveau bookend. I recognised it as the left-hand companion of one she and Keith kept on their mantelpiece. I spent all my cash on it, excited about the symbolism, the completion of something she’d shared with her husband.

We met, as arranged, at the coffee tent. ‘You look pleased with yourself,’ she said.

‘I found something I think you’ll like.’ I handed her the box.

‘You shouldn’t have,’ she said. Her eyes opened wide as the tissue came off. ‘Oh. Fantastic. Well done, Henry. Well done. A matched pair. They’ll fetch twelve hundred on line with the international collectors. Maybe more.’