The last arc of red has been extinguished by the dark blue of the sea leaving a calm in the air before the evening breeze picked up. Michael leaned the broom against the wall as fine particles of saw dust settled to the floor and work benches. Almost heaven, he thought, shame to have to leave this place. A few steps to the right sat the small fridge with cold bottles of beer insides. He opened the door and chose a bottle. Then Michael walked over to his chair under the awning attached to his small trailer and sat facing the distant coastal outline. As his sipped the porter his mind was engaged in thought. Another week, maybe ten days and it’ll be time to pull out, head north again. The bright light of day was quickly fading to blue, changing into a purple hue that became darker every minute.
“This next job will be a hard one. Some fool of a man wants a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Bet it’s gonna be a bitch getting there. Just a few miles north of Vancouver! Yeah, sure! More like two hundred and half that off road. Says he has all the machinery and supplies on sight. Yeah, we’ll see. Still, never been to British Columbia. Lot of hemlock and fir, some spruce, should make for some interesting work.” He took a few more sips from the bottle, feeling the warmth of the sun still on the air. It was quiet now, no hum of machinery or the whining of drills or the buzzing of saw blades. Just quiet and still until the first rush of evening breeze stirred the leaves and whispered through the redwoods boughs.
Far off he could hear an owl, a great horned waking up to the job ahead. One had come and sat briefly on the ridge beam before it glided off into the forest. The owner had dug up and leveled the building pad and surrounding site displacing any respectable family of field mice. Maybe in six months to a year this would be good hunting ground again for the owl. Meanwhile, like the owl, he’d be moving on to the next dream. These dreams were all the same, they just weren’t his. Micheal’s dreams burned out years ago, the way a wild fire sweeps though and reduces everything to ashes. The winds blow what left around until the rains wash it out to sea, the way it washed the women out of his life. Yeah, there were a couple but he could never grow the roots fast enough or deep enough to suit them. They wanted that nine to five boredom that drove him crazy. He needed an edge in life, that constant change in horizon you can’t get from an urban apartment window. Besides, it was all about their dreams, not his. Yeah, a few nights with a woman might be good for the soul but permanance made for a lousy life.
Yeah, that last one, Alice. She wanted to lock his freedom up, nail up the door on him. It took him such a long time to find the door, find his freedom again. Still, the temptation to go running back for more haunted him, sometimes kept him awake. A few more sips and the night was almost black, stars appeared, came out of hiding like old friends. He was glad to see them. But they kept reminding him of a woman who might have loved him, he didn’t know, he never knew. He gave a sigh. Doesn’t seem to be much left to believe in. Then, as if someone, perhaps a woman, was standing in front of him. He spoke aloud, “A few more days I’ll be on a highway. I’ll take it to the limit one more time. One more time.” He threw the bottle into the trash pile and looked up to the stars again.