“I’ll need a gardener,” Collin thought. He finally had accepted that Cheryl wanted a divorce. Some time had passed since she had gone away.
He had his business to keep himself occupied, thank God. He had not yet made a decision about the house, but he realized he had to keep it in good shape if he wanted it to fetch a good price.
Cleaning up the house was not a problem. Mrs. Hopkins, who had come twice a week while Cheryl was still there, had agreed to come three times now. She said she could use the extra money.
Finding a gardener was something different. There was a guy in the neighborhood, but he declined.
“Too much work for a man alone,” he had told Collin.
At long last, he found a college student prepared to help out. Tim Hasting’s parents were on the dole and they could not offer their son anything. Therefore the boy had to work to pay for his courses. He already had a week job in London, but he was prepared to work the weekends for Collin. Farrington offered him good money for it, in fact more than he would normally pay, but he felt sorry for the lad.
The first weeks everything went well. Collin began to spend more and more time in London again and only returned to the house in the weekends. Since last week, a ‘For Sale’ sign was erected in the garden.
Then autumn came. The leaves of the trees changed their color from green to brown, red and yellow and then began to fall.
Collin hated falling leaves. Last year, Cheryl had disposed of them. Right now they seemed to be everywhere.
He asked Tim to rake them into heaps and dispose of them that Saturday. He had to go and see a friend about some computer business and only returned by 5 p.m. It was getting shady, but not quite dark enough not to see the many leaves that covered the grass beneath his feet. He immediately dialled Tim’s number on his cell phone.
“Tim? Collin Farrington here. Haven’t you forgotten about the leaves?”
“Of course not, Mr. Farrington. I’ve been busy at it all afternoon. I’m sure I got most of them!”
“They’re everywhere again. Can you come tomorrow?”
Tim was as good as his word. The following afternoon he went all around the garden, rake in hand. He worked all afternoon and Collin could witness that most of the leaves had vanished.
Yet, when the boy had returned home – Collin had offered to take him – and he parked his car in the driveway, he could not see the tiles anymore because of the fallen leaves.
“Damn it!” Collin cursed. “Damned trees!”
A leave fell on his head and he shook if off violently.