We’d been such a long time together. For forty-five years we’d added new details, big and small, to the story we shared. From tentative dating to our big church wedding. Various houses. The passion beyond words—that was how things were done in our day; not blurted to the world. Children came. The first we called Eliza. For the time we had her we loved her in a way we couldn’t have imagined. Four more after her; healthy and strong. When they finished school we moved south and opened the shop. Grandchildren. Retirement. We passed the business to John and Maryanne. They seemed to be making a good fist of it. Funny how things work out. We’d worried so much about John when he was a boy. Holidays. Friends. Our sicknesses and our health. The modest wealth we managed to make together, such a long way from the op-shop furniture of our first flat. Five cats. Two motorbikes. Six cars. Innumerable moments.

Then, slowly at first, she started taking away instead of adding. Names of past friends. The places we’d visited. Birthdays she’d never needed a diary to remember. In the end all that was left was the hope I’d be among the last things she forgot.

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