The old house echoed with the sound of her familiar footsteps, the day she died. Standing next to her deathbed, six sons, graduating down in height from their father stood stoically at the foot of the bed. Candles flickering in all corners of the room highlighted the waxy texture of her wrinkled face. She was a day dead, a day gone from their lives, a day away from her life, always a day, always a day, always a day. Today, was always someone else’s day.
The morning of her death had started out someone else’s day, rising at six to stoke all the fires in the house she encountered her husband fitted rigidly into his favourite chair, sleeping. It was not unusual for her to find him in this position; frankly he rarely ever visited their bed. Preferring to distance himself from his wife. He had followed his path in life and she; well she had just done what was left to do. Running a household of men was not an easy task. Without support she struggled. Occasionally the youngest Sebastian tried to help but… A man to a man’s duties his father maintained and a woman, it was her job to support, continue the line and his wife had been well chosen. Six sons she had given him; what more could he have asked for?
The morning of her death, he sat in his chair, eyes closed, listening to her movements as she attended to her duties. This sound enhanced his sense of well-being, justified his life. They knew their places and stuck to them. She was the ticking clock in their life, how he measured time and achievements. The fires were being stoked and it was dawn just as it should be, he had one hour of thought left before beginning his day. His man’s day. Today would be busy, people in the village had been dying and as it was the nature of his business it was either a famine or a feast. Being an intimate village and body clocks as they were, death could always be predicted. He had built his business on this knowledge, and with a little access to the church register. The weekly finances were always adjusted to meet with the register details and it was never wrong, either side of a week to be precise.
What really puzzled him the most as he stood looking at his dead wife was why it was a surprise? Her death!