Now, it would be easy to dismiss Martin for the simple fact that he was a sock puppet, but to Mary he was so much more. Martin was charismatic, funny, but most of all a good listener. Mary was so happy to have someone to share her life with again.
Each day for tea, Mary would set out the good china tea set on a freshly polished silver platter. It consisted of an ornate Wedgewood Jasperware tea pot with matching cups and saucers that her Aunt Ruby had purchased while visiting family in England, and had given to Mary and Harold as a housewarming gift. Mary was very proud of the set and only used it on special occasions. One of the cups which had a small chip in its soft blue finish was used to hold a few fresh cut taken Gardenias from the planters that her niece Jessica had brought to brighten up the front steps. After tea they would often play a hand or two of Bridge. Being the gentleman he was, Martin would usually let Mary win.
In the evenings they would relax out on the veranda, swaying away the hours in an old rocking chair. On particularly nice nights they would even stay out to watch the sun set. Mary’s neighbours remarked how nice it was to have her out and about again, even if they were somewhat concerned that she was not to be seen without a sock on her left hand.
Late one night, after enjoying a particularly beautiful sunset, Mary retrieved a small box hidden in the back of her nightstand and retired to the living room. She sat down in one of the matching wingback chairs and placed the box on her lap. Between the chairs was an old Tiffany style lamp atop a simple wooden side table. Mary reached under the white and green stained glass shade and pulled chain. She sat then in the dim light, staring at the box, her free hand caressing the plain wooden top. Not wanting to be rude, Martin waited quietly while Mary collected her thoughts.
When she was ready, Mary opened the box and removed a small bundle of letters that Harold had written her while he was away fighting in the war. One by one she unfolded each letter and read them aloud to Martin. They described Harold’s travels through Italy with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Although he omitted many of the more terrible truths of the war, Mary could sense his sadness. At the end of every letter he expressed how much he missed her, and how in love he was with her.
Mary told Martin how proud she was of Harold, and how scared she was at the time that he might not return. Of course Harold did come home, late in October of 1945, and they were married a few short days later. She explained how from that moment until Harold was taken from her for good, they had not spent a single day apart.
Mary shared how difficult the past three years had been, waking up every morning without her soul mate beside her, adjusting to a life lived alone, and doing her best to hold on to the home where they had raised their children and grown old together. She told Martin how desperately she wanted to see Harold again. Martin did his best to console Mary. He told her how brave she had been to carry on, but that now she could rest easy. Harold was waiting for her, and she would be seeing him again very soon.