Ellie Peach

5 Weeks and 2 days in: Gladys sat at her worn pale green dining chair, motionless. Her body was positioned facing the window and her hands lay gracefully on the table in front of her. She had done it. A soft smirk of pride wrinkled in the corner of her lips as she saw the masterpiece she had created. A nice remembrance of how he spent most of his days following his illness. 1000 pieces – and so much sky!! There had got to be about 200 pieces that were just pale blue, but she had done it. Doug chuckled at her excitement from the kitchen but continued to wash the plates that had built up by the sink - mainly tea-stained mugs. ‘The garden’s looking great’ Doug had called looking out at the garden from where he stood in the kitchen. ‘You’ve done a really good job this quarantine!’

Indeed she had worked tirelessly on that puzzle – they both had- but the garden was all her. He would sit on the bench watching as she pruned and dug and planted and potted but deeply regretted that if not for his cancer, he would be right out there helping her.

‘Oh Julie’s here! Oh and she bought Liza- great I can show her my puzzle!’

The women had arrived carrying a weeks worth of shopping. Liza looked relived to see her Nana looking so bright and energetic.

‘I have to show something to you.’ She beamed before going back inside and ushering the women to come round the back to see the puzzle through the window. While Liza praised the finished puzzle and the luscious garden she noticed a feather was floating in front of the glass, between herself and the old lady. Her Nana had smiled at this. Then, blowing a kiss to her through the window, the women left.

‘I’ll see you next week.’

6 Days and 15 hours in : ‘How long do you think this is going to last? This Covid business? I don’t know if I’ll be able to take any longer hauled up in this house with only you for company’ she said teasingly.

He replied matter-of-factly that it had only been a week and she should stop fussing.

‘Well I’m just bored is all. I want to see my grandkids, I miss going out for a coffee!’

‘We have coffee here.’ He resolutely said uninterested.

‘Oh enough with you silly man. But what a relief it must be for Julie to know we are not all alone in this house.’

‘We will always have each other’ he said smoothly combing out her puffed grey hair.

‘I don’t like when you pull my hair like that you make it all frizzy when you brush it so rough’ she said dismayed, checking the mirror.

‘You’re only dressing up for me!’ he said with a smirk, leaving the living room.

5 weeks and 3 days in: That day Liza had noticed the distant look in her Nana’s eye as she stared at the feather. She had countless feathers in her house, mostly collected around her husband’s photo frame and the little memorial she had created for him. Liza missed her Granddad just as much as her Nana did; she felt a deep pit in her stomach as she thought about the fact her Nana was all alone in that house.