“Her name is Marietta.” George spoke, his eyes set forward and his voice stiff.

The girl blushed and shuffled uncomfortably adding another millimetre of upholstery between them.

George didn’t notice, maintaining instead a stoic silence, eyes set forward, the muscle in his jaw pinging irritably as he was plunged into to the abyss of recollection.

He couldn’t remember why he had married Marietta, only that it had been something to do with his mother. With tea, biscuits, polite conversation and perching awkwardly on the edge of the sofa gazing out through the living room window where heavy white blossoms bowed the branches of the lilac tree. Their lips had moved in a blur of sound, two heads and one thought, never for a moment turning their eyes to his to see what was in his mind or pluck a sound from his mouth. They were, he thought at the time, like bees floating round the lilac sucking pollen from the flowers until the white blooms turned brown and withered in the sunlight.