Roz Nicol attended Sacred Heart Girls College in Hamilton. She has travelled extensively living and working for some years in England and later in Queensland, Australia. She has had a children's book published, also various travel articles and has a screenplay waiting assessment. Four years ago she remarried and now lives with her husband in the Henderson Valley.
A typical summer evening, hot, dry. Windows wide open to catch the breeze. In the kitchen somewhere above me I hear a crackling noise; in a nanosecond know we are in trouble.
It is a country house too far from anywhere to save. 'Old wiring' the fireman said sagely the next day in his routine report. We had what we stood up in. Insurance would help but not much. Older daughter at uni, her sister and me at home, husband away on a job. We checked the pets were okay and stood outside with neighbours to watch life as we knew it go up in smoke.
People say misfortune and pain make a couple closer. But sometimes everything becomes too much and one or both need distance. That year had not been good. Economic stresses. Illness. A child lost before it had a chance to live. 'Enough,' we agreed. Bitterness, blame, despair. Later we became good friends.
Before the fire I'd collected treasures for the new house we would one day build. Now everything was gone things I thought I couldn't live without. The parameters shifted; a strange phenomenon took place within my psyche. I, the inveterate hoarder, now spurned possessions, stability. I travelled with my daughter, both working spasmodically until she tired of the gypsy lifestyle and returned to New Zealand.
I couldn't settle and carried on. I wanted nothing more than what would fit into two suitcases. I'd learnt not to trust the fickleness of fate. You have treasures, inanimate or mortal and pouf! They go.