Col brought the boat around and anchored in a place where there were deep holes that big old trout sometimes hid in. Would Louise be there when he got back? Or would she stay with Bill and his tirades and his meanness and his drinking. ‘You choose,’ he’d said. ‘I can’t do any more than that. If you’re not on that couch when I get back then I’ll know where I stand.’

At his age he’d thought he’d wanted only peace. Then Louise had turned up at the drawing class and they’d started talking. He wondered what the kids would say if they knew. Bugger them. They had their nice houses and their nice lives. All he had was his fishing and his painting and the gaping hollow from Liz’s passing. He baited a hook, cast it, and waited.

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