Tuesday, January 25, 2011
In Search of Lost Time - Instalment 1
It was a morning like all of the others behind him. Doris was in her sensible housecoat at the stove in the kitchen, his egg, soft-boiled one and half minutes, in the one remaining Doulton egg cup that was left from a set of four, a wedding gift forty years ago. The Globe and Mail was folded in its blue plastic baggie beside his plate, black and white striped ironstone. His coffee was poured, ready for his cream. No one could ever do his cream right except himself. The barest teaspoon of it sufficed with no sugar.
Richard was showered, dressed impeccably in what is referred to as casual wear and which for him was a pressed pair of khaki trousers, a checkered shirt and one of many retiree cardigans in various dull shades ranging from putty to mud, that Doris and or their children and or their grandchildren replenished on a regular basis, a neat row of twelve hung in his closet, dry-cleaned and waiting. He was ready for the day that loomed endlessly ahead. Just like every day since he had retired from his law practice five years ago. At Gavin’s, their son’s, insistence. Though it was subtly done and none in the family ever referred to it again. Now Kelly and Kelly was down one Kelly and up an Aherne and a Rogers but it remained Kelly and Kelly and would, Richard suspected, until he had tossed off his mortal coil.
He murmured a good morning Doris with the usual politeness accorded her on the occasions throughout the day when their paths would intersect, and she responded with his two slices of whole wheat, barely golden from the toaster, scraped sparingly with Becel, placed just so on his plate.
From long habit, and with his left hand, he unfolded his black and white checkered napkin and placed it on his khaki lap while tossing a teaspoon worth of cream into the coffee and sipping it with a satisfied ah before scrutinizing the headlines of the paper. When his egg was finished, he selected a fruit from the bowl - it was Wednesday so it was a kiwi - and carefully peeled it in one strip with the fruit knife from the top of his placemat, an English scene of horse and hounds bought on a tour around England three years ago. He laid the peel carefully on the edge of his plate and carved the fruit into four bite size pieces.
Doris by this time had left the kitchen, he had ceased years ago to ask her why she couldn’t sit down and share at least one meal a day with him. Next he perused the stock market activity of the day before and then headed for the obituaries. He was quite unprepared for what he read under the Ds and had to read it three times before he comprehended the full measure of it.