A fragment from ‘Winter Blues’

I pressed the bell but it didn’t ring so I knocked fairly hard on the doorframe.
‘Who’s there!’ an annoyed voice called out.
‘William it’s me!’
His tone of voice changed immediately. He came to the door and greeted me warmly though I could see that his enthusiasm was manufactured. His eyes looked tired and his face drawn and gaunt. He was very thin and one could tell from his features that he had been under a lot of strain.
I made my way into the house following William who was wearing a tatty looking tracksuit and smelt vaguely of baked beans. We made our way to the lounge room which was strewn with old newspapers, a broken laptop computer and a variety of clothes of various descriptions.
‘So mate, how are you?’ he asked.
‘How are you?’ I asked, ‘I’ve got to say, you really look terrible.’
‘Me, no, don’t worry about me, I’ve got it all in hand.’
But what have you been doing?’ is everything all right?’
‘Everything is completely shot to bits,’ he said matter-of-factly. ‘I have no wife, as you know she left me shortly before yours did. My car has been repossessed. Not that they will be able to drive it away. You saw it out the front.’


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