The 71 year old man stands in the blackened shell of the doorway. At an entrance that was bright and proud once.  His eyes roam across the destruction in the aftermath of the fire.  It can’t be true. How can it be?  It is mid-winter. It is bitterly cold. It is snowing for god’s sake!

Walls, furniture, books. Gone. Photos. Gone. His wife. Oh god, his darling wife. No, no, NO!  He staggers, supporting himself in the lee of the doorway.

It is still too raw, he shouldn’t have come. Waves of emotion flash through him. Of sadness, of disbelief, pain and…Emptiness.

Now loneliness, previously unfamiliar, grabs hold.  It consumes him in a powerful, enveloping embrace. Is this how it is to be the rest of his life?

He slumps to the ground, into the residue. To weep. To welcome the cold. To say goodbye.

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