She lightly raps the door with her knuckles before coming in.
Sunlight streams into the room from the tall window at the other end.
It lights up the pot plants so that their leaves appear aggressively green and flashes off the face of the alarm clock on her side of the bed. She goes over and draws back the rumpled quilt for the sheets to air, smoothing it neatly with practiced hands.
The washing machine bleeps from the next room and she darts out, returning moments later with armfuls of fluffed clothes. They go into two neat piles and then into the two dressers. She dusts off her hands as though she’s been baking and walks slowly into the centre of the room. She stands there for a moment, almost at a loss. Her eyes dart around, apparently looking for chores that have gone undone. A hairbrush on her dressing table is straightened, a few grains of powder brushed away.
She grips the edge of the dressing table for a moment before using it to launch herself on a trajectory towards the door. In the kitchen, she sets a casserole to cooking while she cleans the house. The jumpers and jackets that have been left strewn over the back of the sofa go back on their pegs. The congregation of coffee mugs and glasses are marched back to the kitchen. A rogue tie left draped over a chair back is neatly rolled and returned to the depths of the drawer where it belongs.
The day wears on. She does some reading, watches a little TV and now and again, goes to look out of the front window. People come and go according to their usual patterns. Next door’s cat tries to stalk birds in the lilac tree again but, as usual, is far too slow. At five, she does her rounds of the flat with the watering can.
After dinner, she does the washing up while half listening to the blare of the TV in the lounge. While the news plays, she potters about, turning off lights and setting things to rights. Eventually, it’s time for teeth brushing and bed. She disappears into the bedroom. She turns on her light and picks up a book. A moment later, she sets it back down and reaches across to turn the lamp on on his side. The bulb flickers into life, illuminating the thick, filmy layer of dust that coats the book, pen and glasses case that rests on the table beneath.