I sat on the detritus which had been Philip’s office, where he had worked for twenty-three years as a clark, always in to work on time, always focused on meeting his data quotas without errors, and held his hand until he died.

Philip had a wife Miranda, to whom I was supposed to say that he loved her very much, and two children: Sally, who was at University studying Physics, and Timothy, who had been an unexpected but welcome late addition to the family, and was still in secondary school.  I was to tell Sally he was very proud of her, and tell Tim to look after his mother and sister. I would be doing none of that, but I wasn’t lying when I assured Philip that I would.

I meant it at the time, but, well, things got in the way after that. One day, if I ever get my own timeline sorted, if Miranda and Sally and Timothy still exist, I’ll visit their modest home in the suburbs and tell them what Philip told me so long ago. Assuming it is still long ago. It might be before, and then, maybe, I can tell Philip to stay home that day.