“He stayed here two years,
before the end.
Did I tell you about Sam?” Mrs. Kubowicz asked me.
“No,” I said, “I don’t know him.”
Mrs. Kubowicz leaned against the wall and looked at me with happy eyes.
“This was his room. He was a very kind, quiet man.
He was six foot seven tall. I called him my gentle giant.
We were very close. We would watch television at night,
do you like to watch detective shows?” She asked me.
“Not much,” I answered. I did not like the look on her face; she looked disappointed.
She held her hand out to the room. I stepped inside and looked about.
“Why did he move out?” I asked.
A cowboy hat hung on the wall next to a picture of cattle on a farm.
The place not only had furniture, but belongings.
Models of trucks sat on a shelf above the window.
“He died. Suddenly. He crashed his truck on the highway to Canberra.
Killed him instantly.”
“Are these his things?”
“Yes, I can’t bring myself to throw them out, no one came to collect them.”
It was a small room, but it had its own bathroom and a space to cook. I liked the independence.
“I’ll take it.”
I settled on the bed and looked up at the ceiling.
It was quiet. Somewhere in the house, Mrs. Kubowicz moved about.
The vacuum came on.
I rolled on my side and opened the bedside drawer.
There sat an open box of condoms, some bills, and a notebook.
I opened the notebook and read a few pages.
The man’s life was recorded daily.
The last entry was dated five weeks ago.
It was a list of expenses. Rent had been crossed out and ‘zero’ written in.
I wondered how he managed free rent.