Aidelle stared at Phillip’s painting of their house and garden, so bright, so lively, and so loved on that day. Unfortunately, the weather today, like that fateful August 28th five years ago, was dark and stormy outside. In fact, it hadn’t changed much since Phillip left. Perhaps, that was just Aidelle imagining things though. Of course Autumn had turned to Winter, and Winter to Spring. Even if it didn’t feel like it, Summer had come around four times in total, gracing the plants and animals with a radiant sunlight, a joy of living.
Aidelle’s skin had gone pasty white. She didn’t know whether it was the unusually cold weather mixed with her own frozen heart, or because she had not left the house since Phillip had, and her body was craving d-vitamins. Her heart had lost its feeling, but the first few months had much too been painful anyway; she had been craving Phillip and the waiting had been so frustrating. Sometimes, she had wanted to venture outside, but as well as her feet not being able to move far, Aidelle was ashamed. What would she find out if she left? Would she be criticised for staying? After all, her siblings and parents hadn’t seen her in ages… Aidelle lost track of time all too soon. Everything had felt the same.
Would they run rings around each other? Would Phillip coming looking for her, and find their home empty?
Aidelle barely moved at all now. She sat in the sitting room in a cream armchair, complete with a soft throw made of velvet and decorated to be the sun and moon lying harmoniously in a sky full of stars. To Aidelle, it would have represented Phillip and herself with their children, grandchildren and other wonderful descendants. But now, it only illustrated what she never saw: the changing of the seasons, and the agreement between night and day. For Aidelle, night was a harsh ruler.
Aidelle had tried to fix the clock, but as no mechanic, she found it always to be stuck at the time it had shattered, at that 10.56am. She had placed it back on the mantelpiece, below Phillip’s painting, and there it, and she, stayed, staring at it.
Sometimes, Aidelle didn’t know when she went to sleep, or ate; she seemed to be lost in a cloud of nothingness and whatever her needs, they were frozen. All Aidelle could remember was the argument and then sitting down. She had spent her years in the chair; imaging where she’d be with Phillip if they had not fought: cuddling up in the ruby chaise longue whilst they watched the TV.
Aidelle had noticed that the TV had not gathered a layer of dust; in fact, many of the items in the house had escaped the clutter and aging process…except herself. Aidelle dared not look in any of the many mirrors hung around the house, but she could already feel the lines as they crept around her face. Aidelle had never had the looks to be vain, but, like any woman of her class, she knew that aging was a thing to be feared.
And here she was, growing old alone. A sin most terrible in one’s eyes.
So, she sat alone in herself and her thoughts.