He spent much of the morning drinking coffee and staring out the window at his neighbors hurrying down the street to catch their trains. After a time the commuters thinned to a younger and more casually-dressed trickle—the temps, contract employees, and freelancer writers and artists who gnawed at the edges of the corporate world in the big city twenty miles to the north. These mingled briefly with the kids going in the other direction, up the hill to the elementary school. Finally the street was quiet, sparrows pecking the winter-bitten lawns. It wasn’t yet time for the solitary dog walker, the boxy postal truck. The weathered houses stretched down into the valley as far as Benjamin could see, beneath a sky the color of milk.
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