It still amazed her how much she missed him. When he was alive there had been times when she’d longed to be alone, when she’d envisioned the luxurious comfort of sleeping in the middle of the bed, of washing only her own clothes, of listening to music she preferred and eating only salad and a boiled egg for tea. She never voiced those sentiments, of course, not even to Maura. But she’d wished for them. Sometimes, in her Catholic background of tangled guilt, she wondered if she’d wished too hard, if God had punished her by giving her what she thought she wanted and then realized, too late, that she didn’t want it at all, that she would give anything to wash Mickey’s clothes and cook his meals and hear his voice at the other end of her mobile.
It was a silly idea, of course. Johannah wasn’t pious enough, nor egocentric enough, to believe that God was overly concerned with the wishes of a middle-aged woman from Kerry. Mickey’s heart attack was the result of blocked arteries, a family predisposition, the doctor called it, plaque lining the arteries preventing blood flow to the heart. Smoking and drinking hadn’t helped. Neither had the vanillas he regularly consumed. Sick arteries weren’t always evident. Who would have thought Mickey Enright with his flat stomach, smooth skin and head full of brown hair was at risk for a heart attack? But he was and now he was gone and she was alone.