The fire burns and Robert sits beside it. He looks at the skinny wooden lamp in the corner of the room and, for no reason at all, considers breaking it over his knee.
There are calls he should return. People with whom he should break bread. He sees himself leaning against a long, white marble bar speaking with Johnson then throwing his Scotch into Johnson's face. The damage he could cause himself and others is staggering, he thinks.
Perhaps best to get away. He's saved some money without assigning it a purpose. Maybe he'll fly somewhere warm and stay there a while, or forever. Goodbyes won't be necessary.
Above the fireplace there's a painting he made years ago. Two boys in overalls holding fish caught in the nameless lake behind them. The shorter boy looks up at the taller one with admiration, seeking approval, but the taller boy looks off in the distance. Robert used an old photo he found in his parents' house as the model for the painting. He never knew who the boys were or where the photo was taken. The trees along the lake are the colors of Fall.
Unsure how long he's been sitting there, in his study, he thinks it a good time to make tea. The tea soothes him. When he puts out the fire, his back aches, and he hopes he'll be able to sleep.