The old man slowly opens his eyes, squinting at the clock across the room. The green illuminated dots show the time as pre-dawn. He yawns, wanting more sleep, but knowing that it will not come. Stretching bones and muscle, he dresses in the dark, preparing his mind for the day.

While the coffee slowly warms him, he makes out his grocery list. When did he start needing lists for everything?

Arriving at the market, he smiles at the lack of other cars in the parking lot. In the market, he nods and smiles at the young employees working to stock shelves for the day. Most of them ignore the old man, focused instead on their menial tasks. Isn’t everything that happens in a grocery store a menial task, he wonders with a mischievous grin.

Laying out the ingredients on the kitchen counter, he slowly starts preparations. Cutting onions as tears well up in the creases and wrinkles around his eyes. Kneading dough, frying bacon, boiling potatoes. The old man finds comfort here, alone with his own creations.

With a potpourri of goodness in the pot, he thinks about her while it simmers. How, if she were here with him, they would comment on how the aroma in the kitchen smells like heaven. But all that he has of her now will be the dishes given to him after she died.

As the soup is ready, he grabs his favourite soup bowl of hers and fills it to the brim. Holding the bowl with both gnarled hands, he bends down to smell and savor what he has made. Slowly spooning one mouthful, he smiles with contentment, tinged with a hint of melancholy.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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