Emma drifted.  She wandered through the quiet suburban house on her own. She lay on the bed, and thought too much, and missed the busy life she’d used to have. When the day was hot the air conditioner hummed in the ceilings, and when it was cool, in the mornings, she went out for walks. When the council workers mowed the park across the road, the smell of cut grass filled the house, sucked in by the air conditioning.

It was quiet here. The whole suburb was quiet. There was no-one around during the day, and no vehicle traffic after eleven at night. The neighbour’s dog barked now and then. Occasionally people exercising walked past the house, pushing prams with rattling wheels, their voices loud in the stillness.

That was why Emma had started walking. To be like those people.

So she could start saying hello.