One can go back to one’s own home after a year’s absence and immediately the door closes it is as if one had never been away. Or one can go back after a few hours and everything is so changed that one is a stranger.
This, of course, he knew now, was not his home. Guilford Street was his home. He had hoped that wherever Anna was there would be peace: coming up the stairs a second time, he knew that there would never be peace again while they lived.
To walk from Paddington to Battersea gives time for thought. He knew what he had to do long before he began to climb the stairs. A phrase of Johns came back to his mind about a Ministry of Fear. He felt now he had joined its permanent staff. But it wasn’t the small bureau to which Johns had referred, with limited aims like winning a war or changing a constitution. It was a ministry as large as life to which all who loved belonged. If one loved one feared. That was something Digby had forgotten, full of hope among the flowers and Tatlers.
The door was open as he left it, and it occurred to him almost as a hope that perhaps she had run out into the raid and had been lost forever. If one loved a woman one couldn’t hope she would be tied to a murderer for the rest of her days.
But she was there—not where he had left her but in the bedroom where they had watched Hilfe sleeping. She lay on the bed face downward with her fists clenched. He said, “Anna.”
Graham Greene, The Ministry Of Fear, London, William Heinemann, 1943.