Image by Christine Renney
In the evenings, after he has finished the washing up, he rinses the tea tray. He holds it under the tap and, watching the water sluice, he moves it this way and that.
There is a label still stuck on the underside. A barcode, perhaps, or possibly the price tag but it is impossible now to tell. And although he has picked at it a little over the years he hasn’t ever taken the time to scrub at it properly and so, although unreadable, it has survived.
He holds the tea tray flat and, letting the water cascade, he notices the pattern has faded, that the colours once bright are now muted and dull. He holds the tray up to the light coming from the window above the sink and pictures himself sitting with it on his lap, in front of the television.
Holding the tea tray flat again, and in front of himself, he steps backward. He wants to drop it, to let it fall and clatter onto the floor so that he can step on it or kick it aside. But he can’t; he is gripping it too tightly and stepping back up to the sink he holds it under the tap and, watching the water, he tries to let go.