Autumn arrived precisely on the second day of October. It started as the day before, blue sky with no clouds, the sunrays powerful enough to warm up his back while sitting alone on the porch.
Then, before the night fell, it started to rain. He listened to the raindrops on the window for two days, and when he saw the sun next, suddenly all the leaves on the trees turned into yellow. The air was crisp and cool, and he never went out anymore without a warm sweater. He did not leave his house much, though; he could not walk long before feeling pain in his knees, so preferred the comforting warmth of his den.
He's been owning a grandfather's chair in brown leather for decades. He remembered it now as he had seen in first, in the window of the furniture store, looking classy and inviting. The store assistant had told him it would develop patina over time, and made him promise to take care of the leather. 'Fine things last longer if you take care of them'- he had told him. He knew this, but was not sure if his children knew, too. They hardly visited him anymore, always referred to 'business' and 'hectic life'. His grandchildren were greatly missed, too. In the summer they came over often, but now he has not seen them for weeks. He could always see that picture, his little granddaughter hopping up the stairs, sporting yellow dress, two plaits and bright smile with missing tooth.
He let out a heavy sigh.
The leather armchair still looked fine, and he directed it so that he could easily look out of the window, and enjoy the sight of the golden leaves. His afternoon routine was simple: he put on the kettle for tea and placed a tin of biscuits on the side table. The table had a fabric pocket hanging underneath the top, making it a perfect place for his newspapers. A soft blanket lay in a woven basket on the other side of the chair, right in his reach, ready to warm his legs when the sun disappeared behind the houses. After finishing the papers he picked up a book. In the evenings he even lit up the fire in the fireplace, and read by the light of the pear-shaped table lamp.
Now he contemplated the sight on the other side of the window. The sun felt warm through the glass, making him sleepy. It was a quiet leafy street with almost no noise. Nothing to disturb his solitude.
Then he heard it.
Someone was hopping up the stairs.