I look down the road past the park bench and the payphone. I’m the only one here awake; the lady from the shop hasn’t put the sign out yet and there’s no fire lit at the caravan office; I can’t see any smoke.
The ground is speckled white with fresh snow from overnight, not much, but enough for it to still be beautiful. The morning fog is still settled, cold and quiet. I lean my back against the fence and light a cigarette to pass some time, pull my beanie further over my ears.
I think that you should be here by now.
I told you I’d wait until the morning comes. I said I’ll be at the caravan park at the bottom of the mountain, and you can come and see me and we can go back to the city. Up to you, I said. I’ll give you until then.
Over the fence I see three brumbies eating the dewy grass. There’s still lots of them around. They trample on the moss beds in the national park. Their coats are full of burrs and their manes have leaves through them. They look peaceful chewing grass. Their breath makes steam in the air.
Remember when we went out here as kids? We’d go out to see our uncle, Mum’s brother, and we couldn’t afford to go skiing but we’d hang around the edges of the snowfields and play on the sides of the road in the white piles of snow. Getting back in the car our jeans would be soaked; Mum would make us sit on towels in the back seat. The heater would get turned up and we’d play Cold Chisel on cassette, all singing along to Cheap Wine.
I finish my cigarette and think about another one. It’s half past six. I open the door of the Commodore and start the engine so it has time to warm up. I look past the payphone again. The brumbies have gone.