At the age of 53, there are times now when Adrian wakes in dread, feeling the tickle of mortality in the night. There is something he should have done while there was still time. Sweat pools on his chest, yet his arms are cold. He turns over and punches the pillow, trying to get comfortable. Through the curtainless window he sees the moon on its back, spent, like an old man exhaling slow bubbles of breath. He tries to shake the image, stumbles to the toilet and empties his bladder. His face looks grey in the bathroom mirror; he’s not even old.
He shivers and goes back to bed. His beard itches, his skin prickles, even his fingernails are electric. He blames Stella. That little white puppy with one brown ear. It hadn’t enough sense to stay in the yard; instead, it dug a hole under the fence and ran onto the road. Of course it got run over. Why had it mattered so much to Stella? They’d only had it three weeks. But when he suggested they go back to the pet shop for another, she’d turned on him.
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