Despite arthritic hands, the deft touch of the paring knife skated under the apple’s skin, peeling it away in a continuous length. Wisps of fragrant pipe smoke melded with the crisp tang of the apple and formed patterns in the shafts of afternoon sun. The whistle of the kettle rose in pitch and called him to the kitchen. Turning off the gas he fell to the ritual of preparing tea; warming the pot before measuring in her favourite Earl Grey tea and laying out two cups and saucers. As he let the tea draw in the pot he added two chocolate biscuits for a spot of naughtiness.
“Dear, your tea is ready,” but he stopped himself short while the clock on the mantelpiece echoed the seconds of silence since her passing.