He was an electrician by trade, but his passion was chopping wood. I had travelled far from my northern home as he had from his in the red Outback, and we found each other in the grey stone hostel underneath Edinburgh’s mammoth castle.
Chiseled valleys and stiff peaks of ridged muscle were among the many benefits of wood chopping. I imagined my life with him as an imported wife while he, the father of my children, stood on top of the wood chopping medal podium. Then a friend let slip that the Wood Chopper was also sleeping with a short blonde from New Zealand.
I decided to get even.
Tears fell from his big blue eyes and eventually he offered two hundred pounds for the procedure. He said he couldn’t stay with me. His feelings were stronger for the New Zealander and his social life was finally improving. Within hours word had spread, a development I hadn’t anticipated. Jen Smith told me she was on my side and offered support. We walked to the hospital together and then she hugged me and left after I insisted on going on ahead by myself. I lingered in a ward full of old people in wheelchairs and watched her leave through a large window. Afterwards I walked over to St Andrew’s Square and spent some of the money on a silk scarf that was orange.
I saw the Wood Chopper for the last time in the pub a few nights later. He and the New Zealander were arguing. Rumour was they were having difficulties. I never told him what happened to his baby. In fact, he never asked.