Summer’s Lease

Molly stood in the kitchen, the centre of the house, with its door opening on to the terrace, where now, for certain, no one stood watching her. The big wooden table had been scrubbed as white as a bone on the seashore.

The knives stood sharp and shining in their racks. Out of the window she could see her father sitting in the plastic chair by the pool. He had stayed awake long enough to read his favourite magazine and now he was asleep, the sun on his face and his hat on the grass beside him. She opened the tall refrigerator and found, to her surprise, that it was stocked with white wine, beer, mineral water and coke for the children. There was also butter, cheese, peaches and packets of milk. She opened a wooden chest and found pasta, jam, and, put there even more thoughtfully, packets of rice and tins of baked beans. On a marble slab near to the cooker there was a joint of ham and a fat salami ready for slicing. Next to them was a huge watermelon and a bowl of green figs. On the shelves of a tall cupboard, she saw tins of coffee and chocolate biscuits. Her tiredness seemed to go away from her, as though she were lying in warm water; she felt not only welcome, but positively needed. Suddenly she heard the sound of a car starting and tyres sliding on the terrace the only car to be seen was their family-sized four-door saloon hired from the airport. The boot was open and her husband was pulling the remaining suitcases out of it.

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