It’s Saturday evening, at home. In my sitting room, the curtains are closed to shut out the cold evening. You, my partner, have been gone for four and a half years. I’m about to watch some tv. This room was your favourite room, at one end your old roll top desk, its little pigeon holes full of papers, sketch books, your diary and wallet, painting brushes, a brass compass, photos, two Victorian oil lamps. Clutter. The wall to ceiling bookcase is packed with diverse books, maps, art books and handsome, hard-backed folio editions of biographies, novels, Beano cartoon books, literary quotation and poetry books – you always wanted to learn more. Crammed onto the top shelf is a miniature Victorian pop-up children’s theatre you bought for the grandchildren.marrolltops&cartoons 006All at once, I get a strong sense of……………what if you came in just now….and looked around your favourite room, as it has become, since you died ? I’ve sold the oil lamps, I’ve given away many of the books, I’ve cleared out the desk so it’s tidy and ordered. I wanted space, to inhabit this room as it is now, without you. You would recognise Max the dog asleep on the sofa, the same  though older. Would you feel hurt, dismayed ? At my disloyalty to you, my disregard of what was important to you, what defined you. If you came in just now, would we be remote because I’ve changed ?Now I make the decisions, and plans, I look to other people for friendship.Your unexpected visit leaves me feeling strange for the rest of the evening.

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