Fatigue troubles him of late. It creeps up uninvited and settles on his shoulders; an unassailable weight pressing his eyelids shut.
It is summer and he is young. The kitchen is filled with the aroma of baking bread and acrid coal dust from his fathers dirty pit clothes soaking in a bucket of steaming water. Waving his booted feet in mid air, idly marking time until dinner, he sits on a high backed chair with his back to the window content just to sit in the dimness of the kitchen soothed by the familiarity of home.
He knows without looking that beyond the kitchen window, across a paved yard, there is a garden pressed behind a rough stone wall. The garden stretching endlessly forward under a blue sky, is reached by steeply rising steps and filled by row upon row of vegetables and a rhubarb patch with immense glossy leaves. He knows that beyond it lies the village, other gardens and other houses, each a mirror of its neighbour laid out in long rows, side by side and back to back. All are overlooked by the pithead standing so tall at the top of the hill that he could almost believe the immense turning wheels could touch the evening sun…and he knows that one day his father will go there and never come back.