"'Ruin my life' all you want, Max. Your depressing stories actually pick me up."
I forgot you were there, 'Nita. Why don't you go next?
"Jeez, Rick, I've got nothing to say. You know I never say anything much. I'm quite content to just listen to you guys arguing your heads off. It amuses me."
Give us something to argue about, then.
"Don't be stupid. This is our hill, and our moment. I don't want to spoil the peace. Isn't it wonderful just to sit here with people you know so well, just to think and listen and be? I love you guys; I don't know where I'd be without you. We've done so much together. I don't care if you're skinny or depressing, Max. That's just you, and I wouldn't want you any different."
"Whatever, Rick, I wouldn't have you different either. I hate it when people change. Like Tony years back. You've probably forgotten him by now. You know what he was like after he met Ruby. Couldn't get enough of cigarettes or drink. I think it was his dad's fault. After his dad went off Tony was just spoiling for something new to take his mind of things. Ruby was a bit evil, I always thought. Like a witch, with a kind of fascination. You say you hate her but then when she's talking to you you can't not laugh, if you see what I mean. Sorry, Rick, am I bringing back bad memories?"
Tell us a story, 'Nita.
"You're right. Who wants to talk about Tony or Ruby on our hill here? They aren't worth it. Now, a story. How about..."
Don't make it depressing, whatever you do. I hate depressing stories.
"Yeah, Mich, I know that already. Who cried when she heard that Max and Rick made a paper Mrs Higgs then burnt it in Rick's fireplace?"
You don't need to bring that up.
"Okay, you didn't know it was voodoo, hell, we were only seven, but I'll never forget. Ah, yes, a story."
"Well, there was once a family of five. The three children were Stuart, Archie and Maybelle, and the boys loved sports and the girl loved painting and card games. Their mum was fairly tall, with long wavy auburn hair and bright blue eyes, and she was very skinny, although she had rounded out a bit since becoming a mother. The father was not necessarily especially good-looking, and not necessarily especially muscley. But he was a good husband and father who cared for his family and took pride in providing for them."
Anita, it's you! How cute! But who's the father?
"Well, I don't know yet. I'm going to be a lawyer. That's all I know about my future as yet. Besides, who knows what time will bring. Perhaps there is some plan that I won't be a lawyer anyway? Or won't ever have children? But I don't want to dwell on that. Truthfully, Mich, I don't know who the father's meant to be. I haven't finished looking. Unless what I want is right here. Then I wouldn't have to look far. But I haven't quite got there yet. I don't want to be like the guy in Max's story, who wasn't ready to be a father. Hell, was he only fifteen? I want to be ready before I think about getting married, and well, I haven't found him yet."
Or he hasn't found you yet.
"A possibility I have considered, thanks Rick. Well, someone else's go? I've talked way too much. I need a drink. If you don't mind I'll just pop down to the stream a moment. Yes, there's a beautiful stream just over that crest. Isn't the mountain gorgeous? It's my favourite place on earth. You can see it so well from Michelle's bedroom window. Yeah, I'm sleeping at her house tonight. Hey, guys, if it's fine tonight, what'd'you reckon we could sleep outside. Right here on this hill. And we can talk right over midnight. Wouldn't that be magical? Wow, this place is like a gift from God."