After the flood Laurie insisted he’d rebuild. But the place was a mess.

‘You don’t know when to walk away, do you?’ Bill put a beer in front of him.

‘But Carol?’

‘Like I said. You don’t know when to walk away. Can’t patch either of ‘em up any more. Your house and your marriage. It’s the same thing.’

Laurie’s shoulders shook.

‘I’m sorry mate but someone’s gotta say it.’

‘What’ll I do?’

‘You insured?’

‘Yeah. I think. I dunno.’

‘Jesus, Laurie.’

‘I’ve got nothing.’

‘That’s not true. You’ve got——’

‘I could stay with you. Couldn’t I?’

‘No mate. No, you can’t stay with me. With us.’

Laurie looked shocked.

‘Give Ben a call. Stay with him til you’re on your feet again. He’s family. He’ll understand.’

‘I could set up in your garage. I wouldn’t be any trouble.’

‘No Laurie.’

‘Just for a couple of months? While I fix the old place up.’

Carol came in holding a long drink. ‘Laurie, no. Call Ben. Please.’ She walked behind Bill and put a hand on his shoulder. ‘Can’t you see?’

Laurie looked out the window. There was the house, sitting wonky on the low ground opposite; it’s stumps like dead trunks a little further up. ‘I could get a caravan maybe.’


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