When she met him he already had cancer.

Caught... between Love and Loss

The view from the backyard. The Lover's 'Mountain.'

Page One

When she met him he already had cancer. He refused to call it by its medical name, a not so rare, but still less common form of lymphoma. It was instead, the little slippery bastard that had been sent to test his will, just as he had begun building the house. She knew all about his dream project, but not his illness. This was due to his dogged character. His certainty that he could beat it on his own, would do, and that it would not interfere in his life. He also didn’t want to scare her off, given that they’d only just begun dating. At twenty seven, she was alluring, audacious and intelligent and with an appreciation for country life, rare qualities in a city raised career girl. She seemed to share his exuberance for the mini homestead, the planned two bedroom wooden cottage which was to be made from recycled and natural materials. There would be an extensive garden out back to draw the eyes up to the mountain, as the town locals called it, though it was more a rocky outcrop atop a large, steep hill, nevertheless, covered with native trees and preserved by council despite many capacious offers to acquire the land for private development. Richard had been fortunate to purchase the land, as a deceased estate in mid ’94 for an equitable price. The existing building was way beyond repair, it needed demolishing and the land clearing and this he had done on his own, slowly over twelve months as he simultaneously gathered the components required for the enterprise ahead. He discovered that some of the beams could be put to good use, as well as two bedroom doors, a kitchen cupboard, a gramophone box, sans the gramophone and the bath.

The actual house featured in the story.

By the time had met Rachel at a friend’s Christmas function in ’96, a party he had almost missed as it was on a Saturday night and would severely disrupt his two hour weekend sojourns to the property, he was thirty six, turning thirty seven in February and had already settled the foundations. Yes he could have done a day’s work and returned to the city for the function, but knew that once he was in his haven, in the zone, he would not bother to leave. As much as it made him edgy, like a sock full of ants, he was soon delighted in his choice. He was immediately interested in her.

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