last call

These days, Frances doesn’t move much from her recliner chair by the window.
‘I like to have a good nose,’ she says. ‘And if it wasn’t for that damn sunflower I’d be able to nose a good deal better.’
‘I love sunflowers.’
‘My gardener put it there. He was so pleased when it came up. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was in the way.’
‘It’s stunning. So yellow.’
‘Yes, but the glare.’
She stares out of the window, an impressive widescreen presentation of gardens and houses and roads all gently descending to a line of blue grey sea, tiny silhouettes of ships, and then the sky.
‘It’s quite a view.’
‘It’s why we bought it, Jack and me.’
‘How long were you married?’
‘Too long.’
She laughs and swipes the air.
‘I’m just pulling your leg. We had a wonderful time. Mostly. Sometimes you have to work at it.’
She stares out of the window again.
‘It comes and it goes,’ she says.
I finish writing my notes and then tell her what to expect in the coming days.
‘I don’t expect anything anymore,’ she says. ‘Don’t you know what this is?’
‘No. What?’
‘The Departure Lounge! I’m waiting in the Departure Lounge!’
She settles back in the chair and turns back to the window.
‘Trouble is, the bloody planes keep taking off without me.’

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