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At the end of the street, there was a park. Small and without anything more than one bench and table, one slide and a set of swings. It was empty now. She did not know why. The tree that leaned over the table shook dead leaves down from its tired branches at random all year round.

She brushed the leaves off a spot on the bench. And leaning with her back to the table for a back rest she began to wait it out. Without a watch or cell phone she could not know what time had passed. Nor did she know how long she should expect to wait. For some hours, she expected. A car rolled by under the speed limit.

Nothing else happened for a long while. Or it seemed like a long while. Eventually she slept. Waking with blurry eyes to the underside of the tree, light shone through to sting her eyes. Her arm reached across her face to shield them. The sun had shifted far to the left to show the hours had gone by while she slept. So she stood up and brushed off the back of her jeans and walked down the road back home.

 

On the porch she took a deep breath before entering. The door was unlocked, as if Daniel had forgotten. Her nose tingled. Something felt wrong. The gentle tap and drone of visitors hovered in the entry as she nudged the door open. Immediate silence answered her first hesitant step over the threshold.

“Honey? Are you back?” Daniel called from the living room.

With her toe just barely on the floor and hovering as if about to turn, Lucy winced. She had been called. So she closed the door behind her and walked to them with head still hung shamefully low on her neck. Sitting on the armchair across from the couch, where no one ever sat because it did not face the TV, was a woman in blazer and heels. A pair of glasses rested between the woman’s thumb and index finger as if she had just finished reading. The paper she supposedly read was in her other hand.

As Lucy came round the corner she could see the woman shift upright in her seat and delicately slide the paper beside her, half hiding the text in the cushions of the chair. The woman was all polite attention now.

“Hello, Lucy,” she hummed, “I’m Doctor McMorrow.”

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