Adam went away once. He went away and then he came back with his tail just a little bit tucked between his legs. He craved a new landscape painting, he wanted to see what it was to look up at the mountains from a flat surface instead of living on the rocky edge almost to the top of one. Mainly he wanted to see if there were any other women that could make his breath go out of rhythm like Blake’s wife did. He thought he’d go into the town to do books for the shops and small businesses that were starting to crop up in response to the relative boom in the mines, plus all the folks that had been moved by the government to try and farm something besides wind and dirt and snow. Rumor was the crops they were growing were larger than state fair winners down below. Rumor was the cabbages were as wide across as wheels and the carrots rivaled railroad ties. Adam hadn’t seen them yet, it was muddy Spring and nothing grew yet. The women were rough, red, utilitarian. None of them wore much red lipstick. None of them wore a yellow dress that stretched tight across their chests. With a sick resolve he came back up the mountain. It was painful to be around what he couldn’t have and wanted most, but at least the misery was familiar.
While he was away Blake’s wife became pregnant again. When Adam asked the owner if he could return, that the town hadn’t been fruitful for him (and of course the owner said yes, Adam was an asset and a joy and an amazing bookkeeper that kept the mine running smooth as China silk) the owner mentioned this raw fact to him. That wasn’t it wonderful? New life all the way up here. Adam felt the ground drop below and felt shaky and even asked if the owner felt that tremor? For in Alaska one doesn’t know if it’s your own emotions or just the ground that’s shaking all over the place. When Adam thought of Blake and his wife doing what needed to be done to create a new soul he felt hot faced and turned on. He felt angry and envious and also like he wanted to be present for the conception; from the first kiss to the falling back on pillows.