It is drizzling. The house is empty, the road outside quiet. It’s just as the book said it would be, normal. A Tuesday, everything in its place, my desk tidied.

I go to the window to look at the blossom. How to capture the blossom, I think, in all of its brief finery? A blackbird sings from the top of it, a song, I like to think, of praise.

I answer an email, I fiddle for a moment with a paper clip. It is still drizzling.

The book was right (how I hate to say that), there were no prolonged goodbyes. Any goodbyes at all, now I come to think of it. Just this odd, reverberating silence. And me. And me.

Usually the answer is coffee. Or a bun. But not today. I stare into the silence head-on. Nothing moves.

From what feels like the next door house, the doorbell rings.

I open the door to find a loosely dressed young person paying off a cab driver in the road.

‘Have you made coffee?’ the person says as they approach the house on the path. ‘You know I need my coffee.’

‘I’m sorry,’ I say, ‘but I don’t know you at all. Who are you?’

‘I’m your new book,’ says the new book walking straight past me and up the stairs. ‘Milk, no sugar, if that’s OK. And I heard you bought buns. I’d love one, thanks. The old book says Hi by the way. It said not to bother to write.’