Now, the old lady lives in the forgotten mansion by herself. Parts of it they had rented out to teachers who came to teach in the little school they had started. Just for company's sake. Now that the old man is dead and gone, it's just her with her tenants. There's no jungle bounty to take care of. Guard against the wild. Years ago, when the old lady was only middle aged, she would shoo away herds of monkeys from her mango orchard with an air gun the old man no more used for hunting. The horns of the deer killed decades ago still adorns their doorway. But the orchards have vanished. Everything is a shadow of what it was. The clusters of bananas that she used to hide in sacks to keep safe until they ripened, to be sent off to daughters married off in distant cities, no more. The story seeping granddaughters never looked back. The sole singular lone son. Drunkard of a man, womaniser, once discarded by the old man for being a disgrace, must have decayed in some brothel. Or a cheap smokey bar. When the old man sat on the rickety chair, staring at the front door, there was not much conversation. But just one question, who was dying on whom. Which one of the two would last longer, asphyxiate in the dust that the termites ate off the doors. It is usually the diabetes that gets to you, or a cardiac arrest. Sometimes, they imagined passing away in sleep, but mostly it is plain loneliness. Now the old lady, in that ghost of a house cannot move around much. And cooks one meal a day, of rice and vegetables boiled in one black pot and sips as much as she can. Fighting the need to be against the whim to vanish, sitting guard on the decadence.