Simon unlocked the door and walked into the hallway. The house was freezing; no one had been in for weeks and the pinch of autumn was noticeable. It was only mid-afternoon, but the sky was dark and leaves were rustling on the porch.
He looked around the empty space. This is where the Grandfather clock had stood, its regular ticking and melodic chimes marking the passage of time. On the other side had been the small table for the only telephone in the house. To make or receive a call you had to remain rooted to the spot. The fixed wiring and the draughty hall meant that calls were brief.
Simon shook his head to clear his jumbled memories. This was no time for nostalgia. ‘I couldn’t care less!’ he told himself, as he remembered the quarrels and his father throwing him out when he’d told them. It was a long time ago, in another lifetime.
He stood at the foot of the staircase, feeling the emptiness. He didn’t want to go up to the bedrooms, and he asked himself what was the point. The rooms would be cold and bare.
He put one foot on the step. He had to do it, had to say goodbye to his childhood home. He’d not seen his parents in years and now they both were dead. He’d returned for the funeral, the house was sold, and he was heading home to Australia in the morning where Matthew would be waiting. He would not be back.