He knew the nickname they used for him. It could have been alot worse and had been in the past. He ignored their patronising glances at each other, behind his back. He focussed on his job. Eyes forward. Like a blinkered Shire horse. One foot in front of the other. He would stock the shelves, a can at a time. Help little old ladies by reaching items for them from the back of the top shelves, giving a brief nod at their appreciation with hooded eyes. Had it only been eight months? Alone with his loneliness. Her shrinking space leaving an ever-expanding vacuum.
He felt he had lived like this for years and delicious meals together or Sunday walks, hand in hand, were a dim memory. Had that really been his life. How naïve they had been, to think they had ages ahead of them. They hadn’t even got round to the ‘kids’ bit.
The helplessness of seeing her succumb to the growth eating her from the inside out, that did feel like yesterday. His life drowned out by the doses of drugs, the syringes, the kindly district nurse visits that blurred into the visits from the doctor and the awkward visits from her remaining sister and father.
The office had kept his old job open for him but the thought of having to act like he gave a shit about their monthly returns and endless meetings with those puffed up, two-faced, young upstarts was beyond comprehension. Give it time, they had said, but he knew that time was meaningless. His life was pointless now but he would not sit at home, depressed and on benefits. Everyday he got up as soon as his alarm chimed and told himself, put one foot in front of the other. That’s all you have to do.