The worse part was that it had been her idea. Ella had thought that moving back to Oberon, a small town about three hours from Sydney where she’d grown up, would be just what they needed to restart their lives.
Brent had taken some convincing, but Ella kept up a steady stream of stories about the benefits of living not only in the country, but in a colder climate. After a decade living in warm and humid Brisbane, this would be a welcome change and an opportunity to simplify their lives. They were both able to work remotely, and it would be a way to get out from under the pile of debt that had been growing after some ill-advised financial decisions had seen them lose a serious amount of money.
Ella arranged a couple of weekend trips and even though it was mid-summer at the time, the nights were crisp and they’d laughed about wishing they’d packed jumpers and scarves. There was still an old-fashioned charm to the place, and Ella enjoyed sharing the sights and some of her memories with Brent. He’d been interested in the recreational pursuits, especially the fishing, and when they’d gone out for a pub meal he’d struck up a conversation with some locals about fishing spots. On the next trip down, he’d disappeared with them for a day, returning late to the Airbnb with more fish than they could eat before it was time to head home.
Everything seemed to fall into place. Their house in Brisbane was under contract within days of being put on the market, and their offer for a comfortable home in Oberon was accepted. As the last of the golden autumn light was fading in the valley, they were beginning their new life in Oberon.
There were still familiar faces around the town and Ella was invited to join various groups and organisations. She and Brent were welcomed wherever they went, and Brent was soon heading further afield with his new fishing mates. Ella knew she should be happy that she’d been able to orchestrate this new life. But as the autumn days faded into winter, she felt a shift in her attitude towards her old home town.
The days shortened, and that crisp air seemed to infiltrate every fibre of her being. Brent was glowing, actually glowing, with rude health, heading out on walks most days. But it didn’t matter how many layers of thermal clothing she put on, or how much she moved about, there was a coldness that seemed to seep into her bones. The central heating kept the house comfortable throughout the day but each night she felt a chill creep upon her. It became harder to warm up and the icy mornings brought with them a sense of growing dread of the day ahead. She recalled how long the winters were close to the mountains, and what it was like when it snowed. Ella shuddered at the thought of it.
This piece was written to a prompt on the Writer’s Digest website.
Winter Woes: your character is not happy with the cold weather.
Photo: snowman spotted in the Blue Mountains