Husband's Decline

After he retired, husband spent his days cleaning the house. It became an obsession. He bought all sorts of dusters; short fluffy ones, long-handled ones for the high up places, thin flat ones for the inbetweeny spaces. He started to sweep away belongings. Shoes, crockery, DVDs. Then the cat, the car, our friends, the world outside. All brushed away and never mentioned again. I thought he would miss the cat. Then he swept away our children. First Sarah, our eldest. She had always been his little monkey, hanging round his neck. But he whisked her away without a second thought. Then James, then Michael. I thought that was it, there was nothing left to lose. Then he took up the fluffy duster and I was gone. All that was left were a few old photographs of himself as a boy and a scruffy old teddy that smelled of his mother.


fiction by
Katherine Latham

image by
Jon Stubbington