Atticus peered over a pair of large round frames. He was holding a half-folded newspaper – a page featuring an illustration of New Zealand dotted with grey clouds and rain drops. Atticus sighed, put down the paper and picked up a cup of black coffee. He sipped, leaving dark marks around the porcelain rim.
Atticus clasped his wrinkled hands together and leaned back in his chair. The wood coughed. Sure enough, outside the kitchen window the sky was dead grey. Not that it mattered particularly; he would be stuck inside all day collating school reports.
Atticus felt drawn to the empty chair at the opposite side of the table. His stomach turned. Carefully Atticus got out of his chair and walked to the other side of the table. He slid his hands over the polished wood and grasped the top of the chair. He pulled the chair out from under the table and dragged it behind him — across the lino until the chair stopped dead. The chair leg had stuck in a gap where the lino had peeled away. Atticus shook it free and made the rest of the distance. He propped the chair up against a bare space of wall, next to the pantry. It looked almost disappointed. “Sorry Bettie,” Atticus said, looking down at the floor.