Moving in with Den had been a disaster. So when I heard the Hendersons were looking for a house-sitter I jumped at the chance.

Their place sprawled over a garden block like a lazy dog. It had once been a simple cottage but various wings had been added. I’d always loved it. In the morning the salt air rolled up from the bay. In the evening it hummed with insects.

It was the sort of place where, just when you thought you knew your way around you’d discover some cupboard or nook you’d never noticed.

It was in one of these that I found the sketchbook—Colin Henderson in neat script on the cover. Four years older he’d been the object of my unspoken girlhood desire. He was an engineer now. I’d last seen him last Christmas and even then I’d flushed when we talked.

I flicked through the pages of landscapes and architectural sketches. And then, near the end, a portrait. Me at sixteen. I gasped, remembering the photo. I had to sit. As if he were watching the phone rang. “Mel, hi. Remember me. Colin. I’ve got to come over to grab a few things.”

Advertisements