For one thing, he doesn't know whether his parents are still alive. He has neither seen them nor spoken with them in a very long time. He wonders whether both are alive. If only one is alive, did his mother outlive his father, or did his father outlive his mother? Of course, he has been in the house a little while ago. If you can count that relatively recent time as actually being in the house. He does not know, for sure. And he probably never will. Before deciding whether he really wants to walk the distance to the convenience store, he walks to the side of the house and then around to the front. It is remarkable how little the place has changed since last he was there. He crosses the driveway and walks into the front yard. He stops short.
She is kneeling in a patch of soil, planting flowers along the front shrubs. She has seen him before he has seen her, evidently. She is looking at him, now -- as though catching him at some sneaky game.
Hello, Alexander, she says.