He stood on the doorstep, a little man in checked trousers. He wrung his hands, bouncing nervously on his toes. He reached out to knock on the door, then resisted.
He looked mournfully at the door, his lean face long and melancholy. It was a nice door, a pretty wooden color with beautiful floral carvings. There were flowering bushes growing right up to the portico, and a lamp overhead with a pretty glass shade.
He turned away. He walked off down the crushed gravel path, the lawns meticulous and green on each side. He let himself out of the short white painted metal gate into the street.
Each step was heavy, his whole short body dragging under the weight of his expression. He joined a boy across the street, a teenage lad in a tartan kilt.
"Arne' you going to knock, Doctor?"
The small man turned back and looked at the pretty house, it screamed of comfort, and stability.
He stuffed his hands in his pockets. "Not now, Jamie." Head bowed, he turned and scuffed his way down to the end of the street, and the blue box that stood, battered and muddied on the corner.
A door slammed behind them. The metal gate screamed open. "Stop right there, Grandfather!"
The man froze. The boy turned in a surprised swirl of kilts.
There was a patter of light, running footsteps. Then silence. He could feel her, at his back. He turned, and raised watery eyes.
The woman was middle aged, and slightly plump. But she still had that slender nose, and those pixieish eyes. She threw herself into his arms with the same abandon she had as a child.
He clutched her. "I came back, my dear."
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