“I drink good coffee every morning…

…Comes from a place that’s far away. And when I’m done I feel like talking. Without you here there is less to say.” – Colin Hay

He sits by the window in the pink glow of dusk, the tin mug resting at his top lip. He peers across the acres of land at the mountains in the distance. It’s been a long time since he’s been up there. The winter is rapidly creeping in, it will all be covered in snow soon. He should make a plan to go up there before the months catch up with him. He doesn’t want to be stuck down here another winter, alone, prey to the housewives in mittens with baking trays at his porch. There seems to be something about him that coaxes the mothering instinct out of every Jane of the block, and the winter months bring them out of the woodwork and into his yard like hens coming to roost.

It’s not that he doesn’t enjoy the company of women. He had his day when all he would do was chase skirts and tails, but those days are over. Now all he wants to do is drink his coffee and read his books and til the lands like his father before him. It would be good to have a son to share his all of this with, but that is another dream that ran for the hills at the first sign of trouble.

Maybe not the first sign. She did give him plenty of opportunities to quit the bottle, but no broad with pale blue eyes and raven hair could make him stop. He wonders if she will believe him now that he’s no longer moved to drink strong whiskey.

He gets up from his seat and puts his cup in the sink. No use wasting the daylight pondering the past. He packs his backpack with books and provisions, and prepares to go to the mountains  By lunchtime he is ready, he locks the doors and walks down the garden path to the front gate.

“Mister Brown, hello, mister Brown? How are you? Such a crisp day, isn’t it? You can really feel the chill starting to set in. How are you feeling these days? Still no missus to keep you warm?”

He’s almost escaped, just one more hurdle to overcome.

“Good day, I am well, thank you for asking. If you would be so kind to excuse me, I must…”

“But of course, of course. Are you going on a trip? I was thinking of preparing a mutton casserole sometime, perhaps you could come over and we could…”

“I’m sure that would be lovely, but I’m afraid I must decline. I have to go.” He walks past her towards the road, gets in his truck, and drives. He drives for hours before he reaches the cabin in the mountain where he spent his childhood with his mother and father and two brothers. They don’t come around anymore, they tried for years, but finally gave up when they realised it’s not their company he wants.

This is where she did it, right in front of this fireplace. She came here many cold winters ago, laid herself and their unborn child on the carpet, and drove the fire poker through her own heart. He had made her so unhappy that she took her own life. He sits on the carpet and stares into the ashes.

Without you here there is less to say. 


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