What if?

He checks the clock. 2.34am.

He listens to the rolling tide of her breathing, and sighs. His bedside clock ticks. The boiler stirs briefly, whirring for a few seconds before clicking off into silence. A car moves past outside, about 30mph, its driver-side wheels dropping into the small pothole. Then the 180, which makes the house shudder. He calculates how many buses drive past their house each day. Two routes, six times an hour equals 288. He hopes the house is more resilient than he, pictures the men who built it, hopes they were diligent. He has off days at work, everyone does. What if they weren’t feeling great the day they set the foundations for 61 Nicholson Road? It was built in the 30s, during the Great Depression, Europe plunging towards apocalypse. What if they were worried about Hitler marching into the Rhineland? A direct contravention of the Versailles Treaty. Something like that would distract him from his accounting. A sliver of moonlight exposes a crack in the ceiling. He hasn’t been diligent in measuring it so doesn’t know if it is getting larger. He suspects it must be. Cracks don’t get smaller.

He checks the clock. 2.36am.