The carriage clock ticked on the mantle, marking the passing of a long Sunday afternoon. The monopoly set lay untouched on the coffee table. He glanced through the window from time to time, checking to see the car approaching through the overgrown hedges, despite knowing he’d hear the crunching of tyres on the gravel in advance. He noticed in passing the tired and dejected garden, long ago referred to as their Eden in this the garden county.
The clock ticked as evening drew in, embracing the shadows cast by the watery sun. He decided to stock up on turf for the night ahead, better now than later, as he zipped up his fleece before stepping out into the cool blast. Back inside the fire crackled as he lit a candle to ward off the gloom and eased himself into the depths of the armchair. He glanced at the serpentine amber liquid resting on the sideboard. Instead he picked up the newspaper in an attempt at distraction.
The memory of their last visit flitted repeatedly into his mind.
The angry words exchanged, the bitter tone, the grandchildren’s chatter abruptly halted as they were bundled into the back of the car before they sped off towards Dublin. Two longs weeks had since passed, time spent hoping it would all blow over, that they’d arrive as usual for their fortnightly visit.
A car swung by on the road, a light thrown onto the living room wall. He stood to look out the window.