The room was quiet but for the ticking of the clock on the bookcase, the humming of the furnace, and the rustling of Paul's newspaper. Outside the picture window, snow fell in lazy drifts, piling up around the bushes that lined the porch. Paul made a mental note to call the Jensen boy down the street -- the front walk would need shoveling again, and little Charlie was always eager to make an easy five dollars after a snowfall.
Paul chuckled to himself as he turned the page. Not so little anymore, that boy. Charlie had to be... what, thirteen, fourteen by now? Before him, it had been his brother Matt who had kept Paul's walk shoveled in the winters, but now Matt was away at college. Studying something with computers. He was a bright boy; hard worker, too. Paul figured Charlie would follow in his footsteps soon enough, going off to college to get some fancy degree. There were no more boys in the Jensen family, but Paul supposed he would worry about that when the time came.
The clock chimed softly, rousing him from his thoughts. Ten o'clock. Time for bed, that was. Paul folded up his newspaper, set it on the table by his chair, and stood up slowly. He walked over to the window, twitching aside the curtain to look out at the snow for a moment; then he turned around and left the room, switching off the lamp as he went.