Mrs. Eileen Wolfe, the recent widow of Mr. Brian Wolfe, scooted across the seat of a friend's car. In her arms she held the last box of her possessions to be transported. The friend's son exited the car and came around to open the door for Mrs. Wolfe. He took her container of porcelain knick knacks and carefully placed it on the car roof, then helped her out.

"Thank you dear," said Mrs. Wolfe, "All of this back and forth, up and down, is really quite wearisome."

He then carried the box for her up the steps to the door of the large old building. Mrs. Wolfe fumbled for her keys, found the right one, then opened that portal which was now the entrance to her home. She relished the polish on the brass door handle which she knew was her Brian's work. Though it wasn't the home she had shared with him, she could still feel his loving presence even here.

This was to be their retirement nest egg. She and Mr. Wolfe had purchased the East Melbourne house in order to use it as a rental property. On the weekends Brian and she would repair, repaint and redesign the space, so that the house became four distinct units. She was quite proud of how they had managed to transform the dark and dingy mansion into a place full of light and colour, with cheery yellow curtains and blue flower boxes brimming with bright white, pink and purple petunias. Such a lovely place would surely attract lovely boarders.

Sadly, when they were working on polishing the floorboards, Mr. Wolfe had more and more difficulty with hip and back pain. When he went to the doctor it was discovered that he was suffering from prostate cancer. So many years together and they still laughed with one another like newly weds. Eileen could not imagine life without her Brian. It was almost like they were a single larger person together. Who would she be without him?

When he died she moved in with her daughter and her family for a few months, then spent a month with her son, before returning home. Mrs. Wolfe did not wish to be dependent upon her children, but found she did not have the means to live with what was still owing on the rental property. So she sold the house and moved into one of the units.

Now it was a matter of selecting tenants to share this space she and her beloved had created.


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Copyright © 1999 Katherine Phelps
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