In the weeks and months after his Moira died he’d whittled off the callers, one by one, until even gentle Dave O’Donnell, his oldest friend, felt like a stranger when he came by to drop off a family-size pie. This was an unlikely turn of behaviour. In the resolute stare he gave Dave at the side door of the house, there was a grief that could brook no niceties, despite their history together. Dave wouldn’t be coming in. All the tasks and laughter the two old men had shared over the years became just a dwindling sound on the doorstep between them, an echo like they used to hear from currawongs under the bluestone bridge, when dusk settled in and rain was on the wind and they were called home by their mothers for tea.