Somebody is knocking on the door.

“Who’s at the door, Dad?”

“I don’t know, let me check.” He folds up his daily newspaper, stands up from his cushioned armchair, straightens his shirt sleeves. Walking to the front door, he then puts an eye to the peephole.

“It seems like some sort of weatherman.”

How strange that a weatherman should stop at their door! An odd figure! Should they open the door? The man just stands there, as if waiting. It would be nice to continue with that newspaper. Maybe the situation will pass and the man will go away.

“A weatherman? That’s unusual! What do you think he wants?”

“I don’t know, Ellie. You usually see weathermen on TV. But this one is right here, standing on our porch. I wonder what that means.”

“Maybe he just wants to be friends.”

“That’s silly. Why here? Why now?” Dad says bewildered.

Another knock on the door. Gentle, not loud, but exact, measured.

Dad goes and opens the door. “Yes? Why are you here, how can I help you?”

“Oh, I’ve just come to check the gas meter. It would appear that the air conditioning is too active in your house. It’s so hot out here — may I step in?”

The man is somehow charming, though Dad distrusts his words. It’s the sort of thing robbers would ask. You let them into the house and next day you’ll find all your valuables have been stolen through the rear window. Yet his matter-of-fact colloquiality, something about him, it’s almost… surreal! Yes, that’s it, surreal!

Dad’s a bit flabbergasted and Ellie is looking back from her chair, bemused. Then Dad ushers him in with a gesture, and the weatherman steps in, precise, like a period dot. He clearly has something to say.

“How have you been finding this summer? I hope it’s been to your liking,” he said. He stands there as though waiting for something else.

“Well, it’s been a bit hot, to be honest.”

“I’m not sure… We once drove to the seashore, swimming a bit: that was nice, though I didn’t like all the sweat. Otherwise I’ve been at home doing homework, preparing for uni next year, reading, messaging, meeting friends: nothing extraordinary.” Ellie pauses for a moment, glances up and down, then asks, “what did you mean, to our liking?”

The weatherman’s eyes roll to the right, taking in the furniture, the cushion Dad has sunken into. His lips rise, as if pensive, and then sink back slightly. “Well,” he starts. “You seem to have a very nice house.”

“I mean, thank you, my wife and I worked hard for it.”

“It does get a bit boring sometimes, though,” says Ellie, she feels she needs to add that for the complete perspective. (Dad looks at her, softly hit by anger plus a wish to understand, still under a spell but with dilated eyes that try to say , “how could you say that, with all we have here for you?”)

“Well there we go,” said the weatherman. “There’s not much to it, after all.”

“There really isn’t,” said Ellie, gazing at him, enchanted, her dad mutely listening.