something special

‘I’m seven years younger, you know. Her toy boy.’
Jack takes the photo from me and studies it closely himself, like he’s just noticing something new about it after sixty years. Then he puts it back in its place on the bookshelf and makes his shaky way back to the dining room table.
Ruby is still asleep in the chair, curled in on herself like a giant dormouse, pale and empty.
‘I’ve just got to get over this blasted thing,’ says Jack, stretching out his bandaged leg. ‘Touch it! Go on!’
I touch it. It’s wet.
‘I’ve been taking the antibiotics,’ he says. ‘But they don’t do no good.’
I write a few notes on my little yellow sheet.
‘Can I get you anything?’ he says.
‘I should be the one getting you something,’ I tell him. ‘What do you want? Cup of tea?’
‘Don’t be so daft. I’m not that far gone I can’t make a cup of tea. How do you take it? Medium?’
‘Sounds good.’
He staggers off to the kitchen, his left leg dragging.
I finish writing my notes.
After a while Jack comes back.
‘Ruby used to take a load of sugar,’ he says, pushing a kitchen trolley precariously laden with stuff.  ‘But then they rationed it in the war and she got used to going without. There you are! Help yourself.’
He puts a plate in front of me piled high with pink wafer biscuits.
‘I thought you could do with a little something special,’ he says. ‘I thought we all could.’

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