It’s her optimism that kills him. Makes him happy and desperate at the same time.

In the morning.

Saying goodbye.

He’s still in bed, waiting for the neighbours’ dogs to start up or someone out back to continue building that fence or begin chain-sawing that tree or kango-drilling that patio.

She breezes in: pink linen jacket. She looks fatter than yesterday. “Oops. I almost fell in there with you,” she giggles. He turns over and tells her “goodbye,” in his over-voice. His under-voice tells her “f**k off you stupid cow.”

It amuses him but he’s disturbed: because he loves her and it disturbs him that his under-voice has so little respect.

It’s her optimism that kills him. He’s sure sometimes that she hears his under-voice but chooses to ignore it. Such strength of character she has to do that. Perhaps she hears it but believes it’s an hallucination, symptomatic of her own psychosis.

As he hears her leave through the front door he wants to call after her: “Look, you stupid bitch, it’s real and I mean it!” But the dogs have started up, someone out back is hammering and a tree is being noisily executed…

Of course, he never blames himself for the rail crash. But when he speaks at the funeral his guilt rings in all of his voices.

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