There was soup simmering in the kitchen, crickets chirping away in the night, and Hunter hadn’t come home yet. His mother was waiting up for him, again. Chicken with dumplings was his favorite and how long had it been? It didn’t matter. One day was the same as another, and when he did come home, then that would be the day that counted. Until then, rituals, and why not? She’d paid the bills, answered the email enquiries, sorted the mail, kept everything nice and neat. Hunter had a thing about order. Since the time he was a baby he kept everything organized; action toys in this corner, stuffed animals in another. Contact between unlike things was never allowed. Which did not explain that girlfriend, or the messy apartment, or the noise and grime in that part of town. Every other situation had resolved itself in time. No reason to think the present was any different from the past. Wasn’t it Einstein who said something about history repeating itself? It’s okay, she reminded herself. Everything is always ok. She didn’t need to look out the window, or check the clock on the wall. She could feel his return in her soul.