The sunlight brightened and faded as clouds moved across the sky, driven by a March wind. A young girl walked with her grandmother down the sidewalk on a long, curving street. She and her family had recently moved even farther away from her grandparents than they had lived before, and it had been a long time since she had last visited. Walking their neighborhood was like a new adventure.
They passed along a high, wrought-iron fence at the foot of a wide hill whose brow stood two hundred yards away. A path led from a gate up to the top, but the girl frowned. The path appeared to lead to nothing. “Why does the path go up there, Grandma?” she asked. “Is something up there?”
Her grandmother sighed quietly, and her eyebrows sagged a little. “There used to be,” she answered. At her granddaughter’s questioning look, she continued, “Many years ago, a man bought this property and built a lovely house up there. Just beautiful, the crown of the neighborhood. He lived in it for some years, but then, for some reason, he became dissatisfied with it.” A cloud moved across the sun, throwing the hill into shadow for a few moments.
“I don’t really understand it.” Grandma shook her head. “But he came to despise the house. Couldn’t stand to be in it. So he had it torn down, and he left. I heard him say that as far as he was concerned, the house had never existed at all and he had never been happy during his years here. Even though neither of those things was true.”
The girl’s mouth hung slightly open as she stared at the hill as if trying to imagine the house. “Will he ever come back?” she asked softly. “Will he ever build another house?”
Her grandmother smiled a little. “Perhaps. Who knows? Perhaps he will someday.”
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Somebody must have offended him at a dinner party or something.