Albert had lived in the Potts Point apartment for 15 years before any real problems began. He’d bought the three-bedroom place for Maggie and himself a few years after he’d retired, when the grandkids stopped coming around to use the pool at the Big House in Double Bay. Statistically speaking, Albert was right to have been surprised that he had outlived his wife. Her death was quick—just four weeks in an ICU—but it was enough time for her to leave him directions for feeding and caring for their elderly Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Biscuit. It had been the two of them, Albert and Biscuit, for some time now. Had it been two or three years? Longer? Albert had even stopped counting his own birthdays. They noticed the seasons on their walks. There had been coat seasons, with the sloppy brown leaves across the footpaths and Biscuit getting a wet belly from the dew on the grass, but time didn’t mean much else.
After Maggie was gone Albert was doubly relieved not to have their giant domesticity to manage anymore. She’d always relished it, finding new recipes for the caterers and rare seasonals to perplex the gardeners. He had long suspected her unhappiness in her final decade was about downsizing and a loss of that sense of dominion. Possibly also that ‘empty nest’ business. He had never asked her, he just knew.
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