I had never really noticed the penguin before. It must have been sitting on that shelf for years, since the children, now long gone, were small. I had an unstable memory of a trip to the zoo, of Robert demanding that we bought it for him. He drank his juice from it for a week or two and then it was forgotten and moved to its home on the top shelf behind the cake tins.
Carefully I lift it down. It was thick with sticky dust, the plastic of its beak brittle with age. I always thought it had a sinister air about it, a certain sneer about its smile. I contemplate sending it to Robert with the other things of his that I have collected as I empty the house. What would the new wife Cassandra make of that? It would not suit the minimalist lines of her perfect kitchen with its garish black and orange smile. Cassandra would wrinkle her pretty nose and then throw it away, not keep it safe for thirty years as I had inadvertently done.
I drop the penguin into the bin bag and hear it crack as it hits the stone flags beneath.