Lying alone in a hospital bed he scribbles into a notepad with a leaky Biro. His ink stained fingers shake as the tip of the pen hovers over the page. A fresh scar, red and raw stands out from his shaved head, a mark left by the surgeon’s knife. Grapes grow moldy in the bowl next to a bottle of Lucozade, what little remains of it’s contents, flat. There are no flowers and only a few cards wishing him a speedy recovery.
He stops writing, crossing out the last few lines before shaking his head and looking out of the window. The bare branches of a tree rattle in the wind. A pigeon flutters towards it, blown and buffeted by the gale. It aborts a landing, pumping its wings against the gusts then drifts back across to the right and tries again. The bird rests in the tree’s shaking arms, bobbing up and down for a few moments rest before she takes to the air once more.
* * * * *
The cat hides under the sofa. Frustration has boiled over. Her fingers jab in his direction, punctuating each accusation. He spins around arms wide protesting innocence, appealing to the audience consisting of a potted plant, a near cold mug of tea and the cowering cat. She waves away his excuses shaking her head. Her long hair cuts through the air. She juts her head forwards, pointing, wagging her finger. He folds his arms across his chest and with eyebrows raised and eyes wide open moving his head from side to side as each word leaves his mouth. Her hands now on her hips. Her jaw clenches as she waits for him to finish. She pulls at the roots of her hair before throwing her hands up in the air and turning her back on him to face the window. He slumps back onto the sofa and stares at the stitching that crosses the toe of his shoe. The room sits uncomfortably silent as each second stretches slowly to the next.
* * * * *
‘Give me a bite of your apple’
‘No get your own’. He leans over and tries to take a bite.
‘Get your own you pig’ she thrusts him away to arms length
‘Just a little bite.’ He snuggles in close to her neck and nips at her ear. The delight is excruciating. She presses her ear to her shoulder scrunching up her face.
‘Get off me’
‘But I’m hungry’
‘Get an apple then’
‘But I want a bite of yours’ Her arm is still outstretched, he reaches around her back tickling her ribs. Her arm jerks down trapping his hand, her head moves to the other shoulder opening up her neck which he nibbles at again.
”Noooo’ she wriggles, kicking out. He pursues each area of her body as it becomes exposed to cover the last, building to a crescendo. She can no longer gather her breath to speak or her wits to mount a counter attack so she does the only thing that she can to get him off her. She gives up the apple. He sits back smug, victorious, opening his mouth as wide as he possibly can devouring half the apple in one bite. With limbs of jelly she flops back exhausted by the struggle, frowning at him. He grins back apple juice running down his chin.
‘You are such a pig’ she stomps out of the room to get another piece of fruit.
* * * * *
He leans over and squashes wet, tooth paste kisses against her neck. She wrinkles her nose, touches a defensive ear to her shoulder and shrinks back into the warm cover of the duvet.