He pulled his woollen cap down further about his ears. He had never liked wearing hats of any sort, but he was glad he had this one. The air was sharply cold, & he shrugged his shoulders up, so the collar of his jacket was right up around his neck. He had pulled the zip as high as it would go.
He had never liked ski type jackets, but he was glad he had accepted this from her Grandmother, even though he had not wanted to take a dead man's jacket.
Her Grandmother was practical, and had not wanted it "to go to waste", as she said. He was actually quite surprised at how often he had worn it.
He wished he had worn the pantyhose, under his jeans, like the others wore for their footy training, The girls teased them about cross dressing, but hell, on cold frosty nights, like this one, they needed something to keep them warm initially.
He walked briskly, watching the puffs of his breath, in the bright moonlight. This was the second night he had headed off briskly, telling himself he would just take a training run. His feet felt cold still, in his cross trainers, but he knew they would warm as he walked on, the soft spongy soles rolling under the balls of his feet, cushioning his heavy heel footfalls.
He saw the lights knifing through the darkness, as they approached the bend in the road. He quickly crouched down in the ditch, among the long grass, and bracken, that tickled his nose, until the lights had passed, going too fast on the gravel road, the tyres spewing out stones as the driver swung the ute around the curve. He knew who the driver was, knew he was returning home and would be in a foul mood, as his father-in-law-to-be would have come out to order him home. It was a standing joke, in the dressing room, about the "Blue Balls".
Almost there now, the first fingers of frost tipping the grass, the bracken. It would be a heavy frost, and he felt the cold of it biting at his nose and teeth.
Here was the wide wooden gate, never closed, it hung slightly askew, growing more lichen with each year.
He could see the sliver of light, like a blade on the ghostly grass, thrown from the gap in the drapes that never quite closed. He edged closer, cursing softly as his trainer sank into soft soil. The old lady must have weeded the flower bed.
He peered into the room. He could see the old Grandmother sitting in her chair at the top of the table, seemingly staring right at him. He pulled back, then realised she could not see him in reality, the net curtains prevented sight out into the dark. Not so, the reverse though.
He could hear the murmur of their voices, watched as her hair fell across her neck and face. She brushed it back, tucking it behind her ear. She said she was going to have it all cut short. He had asked her not to have it cut.
She said something, and her Grandmother laughed. She laughed too, lifted her knitting, to measure the length, with a tape measure, on the table top.
He had often wondered about the fact that they chose to sit in the dining room, rather than the lounge room. True, it was more cosy and easier to keep the smaller room warm, on cold nights such as this. The younger brother would be in bed, sleeping the sleep of the young, the innocent.
He stared, his heart thumping inside his chest. He could feel the burning pain of her rejection. His fingers dug into the window sill to steady himself, as a surge of pain and yes, rage, passed shudderingly through him.
He stifled the urge to scream out her name. He thought of her Grandmother's soft eyes, when she had learned that it was all over.
He wanted to reach out, smash the window. Pull down the drapes, the curtains, leap the windowsill, grab her and.... then what? The pain washed over him, the feeling of helplessness.
A dog began barking furiously, somewhere over the paddocks. He could hear the chain rattle, carry in the still frosty night's air.
He looked at his foot prints, a darker green grey in the frost on the lawn. They would surely re-freeze. His footprint in the soft earth would remain.