The alarm by the side of my bed went off, after what felt like only a few seconds of sleep. Two o'clock. Time for lunch. I crawled out of bed and threw my dressing gown on over my worn out pyjamas and once again headed for the creaky stairs. I was sure one day this house would fall down around us, it was in such a bad state. I had thought about selling it but Mike wouldn't even consider it. He loved the house too much.
I passed Mike, dozing on the sofa, and into the kitchen. It looked a lot better than when I had come in at breakfast time. There was still washing up to do and the surfaces needed a good scrub, but it wasn't a complete pig sty.
I turned the gas on and found an unopened can of beans and a clean saucepan. Mike had never been a foodie but now he hardly seemed to eat anything. It worried me. The cancer was in its final stages and there was nothing the doctors could do to save him, but everyday I still prayed for a miracle. I put bread in the toaster and stirred the beans, humming to myself.
'Cora? Is that you?' His voice drifeted through from the next room.
'Yeah it's me. Just making some beans on toast for your lunch.' The toast poped out of the toaster just in time for me to put it on a plate and put the beans ontop. I carried it through to the snug with some cutlery. 'Here we go.' I handed him the plate and sat on the floor next to him.
'You are a star, you know that don't you.'
'You tell me everyday.' I sat and watched him eating telling him a bit about work. He liked to hear about the bar and the people I worked with. They were so colourful, he loved to hear about them. His favourite was my best friend and fellow barmaid, Scarlett Johnson. He said she reminded him of Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind, she'd been through just as many husbands and had the same fiery nature.
'OK then, now Mike, I'm doing a double shift today so I need to go get ready.' I tried to stand up and leave but he kept hold of my hand.
'Why do you have to do a double shift?'
'We need the money so I can fix the hole in the roof.'
'The one in the bathroom. it's getting really bad. If I do a couple of extra shifts a week then I should be able to get enough money to pay someone to fix it.' I knelt down and gave him a kiss on the cheek. 'But don't you worry about that. You know I can look after us.'
'You do too much Cora. Are you ever going to take a break?'
'I will. When the hole in the roof is fixed.' I smiled and went upstairs to put on the black skinny jeans and black shirt that was my uniform. After putting on my make-up I headed back down to Mike. 'Remember I've got my phone and you have the number for the bar so call me if you need anything.'
'It's OK, Mum said she'd pop round later so I won't be on my own all day.' I felt so guilty leaving him here day after day, especially since now he was so tired he could only just make it to the downstairs bathroom and back before collapsing with exhaustion.
'I'll see you later then.' I gave him a proper kiss this time and shut the door behind me as I left.