With the house done, Peter grabbed the roll of garbage bags and went outside. The backyard would need some work, with patches of overgrown weeds where there had once been thriving vegetable beds. But that was back when they were a family and doing things together mattered. Now, because everyone blamed him for the destruction of the what had been, it was up to him to clean the house before they could sell it.
Peter started at the left-hand side and work his way methodically around. He guessed it would take him the rest of the week, in those few afternoon hours before he started his afternoon shift.
They had fallen into a routine of sorts. Peter would place in the centre of the lounge room things for review. Grace would take the things to be given to the Op Shop or things she or the kids wanted to keep, leaving him with throwing away the junk.
With Grace now in her own place, a few blocks away, Peter moved into the old shed while he cleaned everything.
He pulled out weeds until he could see something yellow tucked away behind the undergrowth.
A ceramic bowl emerged, like a time capsule. It was the one thing from her mother’s estate that Grace could keep. Rory, aged five, had taken it to place milk in. He had used it to feed a stray cat.
Peter remembers how the cat befriended Rory and Tiggy, but Grace wanted the thing dead. She said it was diseased.
Peter wipes dirt from the bowl, revealing yellow daffodils. Peter hesitates for a moment about placing it in the review pile or to throw it away.
He placed the bowl on the ground and smashed it into small pieces with his boot.
Peter gathered the pieces up in his hand before placing it in the review pile. If asked, he simply thought she might glue it back together.