Put back in its hiding place, Martha retrieved her gardening gloves. Those leaves wouldn’t sweep themselves up. On the kitchen table, her mobile trembled. On the caller ID was Laura. A deep breath in, Martha answered the call.
‘Hi, Laura love.’
‘You’re out of breath.’
‘Just been gardening that’s all,’ Martha whispered.
‘It was lovely seeing you.’
A discarded cup, half full of cold tea, sat lonely on the table. Martha picked it up, with her free hand, and wandered over to the sink.
‘I’m free today.’
‘It’s not – it’s not a good time.’ Martha said, and stared at the charred liquid as it congealed at the bottom. Hot water turned on, she held it under its steady stream until nothing of Thomas remained.
‘We have every right to see each other.’
Martha’s eyes dashed around the immaculate kitchen. The cup placed on the draining board. ‘I know, but I’m so busy, the garden is a mess, the house is just as bad.’
Laura’s sigh pressed on her heart like a ten-ton weight.
‘Please Mum, I don’t want it to be another few months before I see you.’ Laura said.
‘I’ve got to go, someone is at the door,’ Martha said, the pressure behind her eyes at bursting point. ‘Love you darling.’