Norma hadn’t seen any of her family in over six years. She wasn’t proud of that fact, but as she now stared at her old fashioned telephone, she wished it could all have been different. Her hand shook as she reached out for the phone then stopped mid-air as a flood of memories came back to her. Tears started in her eyes and she sniffed. Dropping her hand, she grabbed a tissue out of the box on the coffee table. Sorting herself out, she ignored the TV and turned to her tabby cat, Tiger, who was sitting on the window sill and meowing to be let out.

‘It shouldn’t have been like that,’ she called to him.

Tiger turned his head, glanced at her then pawed at the window.

‘It was his funeral, for crying out loud.’

Norma stuffed the tissue in her pocket and got up on wobbly legs. She hobbled over and as Tiger began meowing loudly, she opened the window. The cat shot outside, jumping and running away into the garden.

‘Some days I wonder if you hate me too!’ Norma yelled after him.

She closed the window and sat back down in a huff. Crossing her arms, she glared at the TV, but the game show that was on couldn’t take her mind off things. Standing up again, she switched it off and headed upstairs. The pain of her swollen joints made it harder and she had to pause mid-way to catch her breath. Once at the top, she went into her bedroom and lay down on the double bed.

She got comfy and her eyes came to rest on her bedside table. It was over cluttered, just like every other surface in the house, amongst the things was a small telephone and a picture frame. It was this that her wrinkled fingers picked up and she held to her chest for a few moments, before returning up right and looking at the photograph inside the frame.

‘Oh, Archie, if only you were still here. You’d know how to fix things, you always did,’ Norma said in a low voice, ‘what should I do?’

Her eyes flickered to the phone then back to the smiling image of a young man.

‘I know what I should do, but what if they don’t want to know?’ she said, bursting into tears.

A few minutes later, her hand reached out for the phone and she dialled her daughter’s number. Her mind made up that if she didn’t do this, she would lose what precious few months she had remaining before she was reunited with her husband.