The Hoarder's Widow - Excerpt

She has begun to feel, over the past few weeks, an increasing sense of utter hopelessness which for a woman who has managed to remain positive and ebullient in the face even of Clifford’s mania, has been an alarming development.  In response she has redoubled her efforts, getting up earlier and working until later into the evening. Her stolid determination has metamorphosed into a kind of desperation, at times rabid and all-consuming. She has found herself, sometimes, heaving furniture and almost hurling boxes with an air of hectic urgency and heedless of her personal safety, taking risks, scaling unstable stacks, delving frantically beneath unsteady piles, as though some injured person or a forgotten hostage lies trapped beneath, dependent solely on her efforts for release. This sense - non-specific but quite tangible - of rescue, of saving something or someone, has become a driving force. But as often as she might pack up the car and trundle off to the tip, as frequent as her visits to charity shops have been, still the hoard has shown no signs of shrinking. Every day she goes to bed with a feeling of having failed, of not having grasped the wasted hand which lies somewhere beneath the ruins, of not having heard the parched dry voice which calls from below the surface.