...the broken window on the first floor. The pane wasn't broken, but the latch was. It had been broken by him on purpose when he was a kid. Wanton vandalism wasn't Joe's style, this was one of his many survival tactics. Joe wasn't so much a latch-key kid as a forgotten kid.
Some days his mother wouldn't return for hours. He assumed she was at The Neptune bar downtown, but he couldn't bring himself to go and get his Mum when he came home from school to find an empty house. He didn't want to be that kid at the bar door, sending a stranger in to find his mother. He'd rather wait in the garden til she stumbled home. All apologies and smelling of cigarettes, beer and men.
As his first school year went past, he also grew tired of waiting outside and broke the latch on the window, so that he could let himself in. In fact, as he looked up, he remembered that it was Violet that suggested it. She stood back as he took his father's old hammer to the lock. And she shrieked with delight as he hit it.