Lunsford’s wife is called Chloé. Or rather she was. In hospital after the accident, he remembers her as he drifts in and out of morphine caves.

Chloé was grand in a way that made everybody around her elevated. She was grand in size and in the breadth of her every day humanity. She had a temper that was legendary because it was so rarely experienced. Chloé liked to expand her horizons, from the library to the theatre to the ballet up in London, to singing loudly as she worked in their garden, her body moving heavily and gorgeously from bed to bed to bed to lawn and then to bed again.

She had cancer of her whole body. Lunsford had stopped listening to the details after they’d been told, “less than two months”. Of course she lasted longer but when the the end came it came as fast as a hummingbird.

He didn’t care where her cancer was because try as they might to hide it, it was everywhere: in the house, in the fields, in his heart, in hers, in their futures, in their cups of tea, and in their kisses; in the walks they took along the River Icene and in the Water Meadows to the fringes of The Hunters Wood. He knew he could never clean her of it or be washed of it himself no matter how he tried.

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