The old lady in the pale pink twin set ordered tea for two in her prim, clear voice before finding a seat close to the window. The cafe was bright and warm, filled with the comforting smell of coffee and the quiet hum of conversation, windows clouded with condensation. Perching in her usual seat, June, for that was the lady’s name, crossed her legs at the ankles and smoothed out her skirt. She was always the picture of decorum. Her face, wrinkled and soft like an over- ripe peach, had a light dusting of powder, her jet black hair scraped back into a bun. June thanked the waitress who brought her tea and carefully sipped the hot, milky liquid. June was a regular, she lived close by, in a small flat with china dogs on the mantelpiece and doilies on the coffee table. The flat was the only thing June’s mother had left her. At times, June thought, it was as if her mother, a small, shrivelled woman who had refused to even utter her son’s name for 40 years, had banished him from their home, had left that flat to him (for June was a James in the will, mother would never submit her son was now the daughter she never had), as a curse from beyond the grave. It was if her mother had predicted June would end up just like her, alone and unloved, trapped by her own self imposed traditions. Oh well, thought June, a smile playing at her lips as she thought about Tim, who would be arriving any time now, his sandy hair damp from the rain, if only mother knew!