Bells. Their melodic clatter rang across the suburb. Nine resounding notes reaching outward over the people, seeking to inform and spread musical contentment. On a corner of two streets, a singular ear perked up.

Head tilted, an elderly gentleman sat on his porch and listened. Humming along to the tune and rocking back and forth as he did. No creaking of floorboards or groans of chairs occurred as he moved. The porch, it's banister freshly painted, plants trimmed, and steps swept, was different from those around it. Whitewashed walls and blue shutters stood out from the run down, and scraggly paint chips of the neighborhood. This house, out of all of them, was maintained. And its owner was vigilant.

The bell's last echos fading away, his eyes moved to survey his lawn and street. With calm and practiced movements, he dusted off his bird feeder and watered his plants. Then swept the staircase and returned to his chair. The swing of the door was on time, his wife emerging from the cool dark of the home. Her hands full carrying the morning tea and breakfast. They sat together, watching the clouds go by, and ate in peace. Her cup drained, she began working again, a hat slowly taking shape as she knitted.

After the mailman stopped by, the man sat reading the paper. Brow furrowed and head slowly shaking side to side. Each article was sucked dry of its truths, the falsehoods spat out with a contemptuous grunt. Routinely, he folded the paper and recycled it. Walking slowly across the porch towards the lawn, he stopped to kiss his wife, reminding her that he loved her, then stepped gingerly down the stairs. Pulling open a small cabinet hanging from the railing, he reached in and grabbed his gardening tools. Soon enough his hands and knees were covered in dirt from digging into the moist earth below. His morning drifted by, this day similar to other days before, his smile content, his love strong, and his pride of his meager home intact.

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