He used the fork to cut the already small piece of chicken in half. Piercing it with the tines he soaked it as much as was possible in the mild curry sauce and ran it through the rice, allowing a few grains to stick to it.

Tapping it lightly against the side of the plastic bowl he brought it up to Ian’s mouth.

“You ready for this?” he asked

“Aye.” Said Ian and opened his mouth as crookedly wide as it could go.

He guided the fork carefully into Ian’s mouth, avoiding the few remaining whole teeth.

Ian jerked his head forward in a biting motion, it made him think of a Pez dispenser in reverse. The top of Ian’s jaw clamping down on the fork and dragging back – taking the food with it.

The dinner was already cold. In between each deliberate mouthful Ian had to chew and swallow. Each completion of this ran the risk of a small choke or forceful cough which sprayed them both in chicken and rice.

But he didn’t mind. He was meant to food process all of Ian’s food, liquefy it for easy consumption. But who would really want a chicken curry flavoured milkshake?

Ian had not always been this unable, he knew he could remember the feeling and texture of large juicy chunks of chicken being chewed between healthy teeth. To so unceremoniously remove that pleasure from him for paltry ‘Health and Safety’ reasons seemed wrong.

They had a pact, Ian and him. They’d had a few choking incidents before but Ian always trusted him to fix it, so they continued, and would continue, as long as Ian wanted to try and chew his food.

With the last forkful successfully managed Ian nodded his head towards the plastic baby cup with the large thick straw.

“Aye!” he said.

Placing the fork down he lifted the sealed cup full of beer and held the straw in such a way that Ian could grasp it between his lips.

Gulping deeply, he could see the joy shining in his eyes, even as he coughed and spluttered after the effort.

He put the cup back on the tray, gently wiped Ian’s mouth with a wad of tissue and picked the fork up again.

“you ready?”