The knock on the door was not unexpected but still a surprise nonetheless. “Go away!” He shouted.

“Hey Ray! It’s me, Charlie from the factory. They send me down here to check on you. You haven’t shown up in over a week and everyone was getting worried. Your kid, in Memphis said it wasn’t unusual that you’d hold up like this, but they’re making me check anyway.

Ray was sitting in his front room in a big easy chair that normally sat against the far wall, but recently he had been inching it toward the kitchen so as to avoid the spring sunlight coming through the drapes.

“I’m fine Charlie, least I will be in a few days. I’ll be back to work then. Thanks for stopping by.”

“Come on man, let me in so I can tell everyone that I at least saw you being ok. Otherwise I gotta keep coming back to bother you.”

“Not in front, come on round to the back porch. I’ll meet ya there.” Ray said, cringing at the thought of what lay outside his front door.

The back porch was covered and in the cool shade of early spring. The air still had a bite to it in the morning as if winter would never lose its grip. Ray stepped out onto the porch looking a bit more haggard then usual but to Charlies eyes seemed to be ok. Satisfied, Charlie left and would report that other than being a bit reclusive Ray seemed to be okay.

Outside Rays front door the sun began to rise overhead and began to cast shadows along the side sandstone buildings. The light hit the façade in that oblique way it only did in early Spring and early fall. Growing up in this same house Ray knew every brick and crack of the old buildings in an intimate way only the most observant mink could know.

Once while daydreaming on his father’s lawn on a particularly warm spring day Ray fell asleep to the warm touch of the sun. 60 years later the vividness of the dream still haunts him. The buildings had come alive with shadows and bricks becoming faces. Muffled voices over the sound of lawnmowers. Even with the cobalt blue sky it Ray felt it was raining, only raining sand. The grit and weight of falling sand in sheets and waves coming down to smother him. Vivid then, and equally vivid today. Early April, early October, the laughing sandmasters of shadow and sandstone watched him from across the street. Until the sun rose toward the equinox did the sandmasters disappear for 6 months. These few weeks Ray dare not leave the house nor dare be seen in the light.

Maybe next year things will be different, Ray thought. There was talk that the old sandstone buildings were to be torn down and replaced with condos. Nice buildings with aluminum siding would be nice.

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