A little house. Back a little from the road. On a little hill. Near a little corner. A little door. Two little windows, one each side of the door. A little chimney that sometimes smoked, but the smoke went in, not out. A little path to or from the door; it’s all relative.
No one lived there.
Twice someone knocked. Twice the door opened. Twice a visitor entered never to be seen again. But even more strange: the front doorknob was on the wrong side.
Troy was fascinated. So was everyone. Troy knocked. The door opened. He entered.
Thaddeus was a little sad. Sort of. He’d always, since his early twenties, wanted to own a little cottage with an orchard.
He’d worked hard all his life, but with the price of things – the rent, the groceries, his old car always breaking down – he’d never managed to save enough to get a mortgage for a house. He’d never married, but he wished he’d found that other someone. Sort of.
How he loved, when driving around, to see homes as he passed. That one has an orchard! That one has a lovely vegetable garden! Oh the flowers! How pretty is that old gnarled weeping elm! Look at the garden path with its rose covered gate! That house there’s for sale!
How did the people all have homes like that? How did they get the money? He couldn’t have worked harder if he’d tried. He couldn’t have saved more if he’d tried. He couldn’t have done any better than he did.
And now he was old. These days he was on the pension. Even if he had the money there wouldn’t be the time to see things grow. A mature orchard he had planted would never be his. A lily collection! A herb garden to defy belief! An old gnarled weeping elm! A dove cote!
These days, as he drove passed other’s homes, the hope had gone. Thaddeus was a little sad. Sort of.