Friday, April 25, 2008

Mossy's Backpackers #25

“More tea?” Cate asked brightly.

This is so not fair, Max thought to himself as he rubbed his throbbing temples.

You know, I’d hate to agree with you…


So I won’t.

I hate you so much.

“Yes please, thanks luv,” Cindy said gratefully. “These omelets are fantastic Max, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a better noon breakfast.”

“Same here mate. And trust me,” Greg added with a laugh, “we’ve had plenty.”

“Oh, they’re easy enough to make,” Max said. “I always make them the morning, or afternoon, after a long night. And last night was longer than usual… what time did you wake up anyway?”

“I was up just after eight,” Cate replied as she topped off everyone’s peppermint tea. “I’m surprised I didn’t wake you, I barely managed to get you lying down on the couch without dumping you on the floor.”

“Dead to the world, milady,” he answered with a smile, his headache finally starting to recede to the background.

“Aw, I knew I shoulda drawn that mustache on you,” she grinned wickedly. “Don’t know how Tim managed to talk me out of that.”

“I guess that explains why he said ‘you’re welcome’ as he left,” Max said, thinking back to their groggy goodbye several hours earlier.

“Ha ha… wait, didn’t he tell us that too?” Greg asked, giving Cate a suspicious look. In response she quickly pulled out her road map and began to study the day’s planned route. “You cheeky devil!”

“That would’ve made for a great breakfast,” Cindy laughed. “For us girls anyway.”

“You’re both terrible,” Max said with a shake of his head before looking around the empty common room. “Man, this is going to be like leaving home all over again.”

“I know, I’m having trouble with it too and I haven’t been here nearly as long as you,” Cate said. “I’ll probably sub-consciously leave twenty things behind so we have to keep coming back.”

“Aye, a lot of good memories here. A lot of good people came through that door,” Greg said. “And a few bad ones too.”

“Ha ha, remember that Russian girl who kept trying to sneak her boyfriend in?” Max howled. “It might have worked too if he ever showered. And didn’t snore like a grizzly bear.”

“Oh mate, how could I forget… we could hear him from our room!”

“And that drunk Irish guy,” Cindy added. “Didn’t he want to fight you because you asked him to turn the music down?”

“Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about him,” Max said. “How I didn’t refuse him on sight is still a mystery to me. He came in the door hung-over with two cases of beer as his luggage.”

The four of them sat back and smiled, lost in their own favorite memories of the hostel. Their mugs and plates stood empty watch on the table but no one moved to leave.

“Hey gang,” Mossy said as he appeared from the back of the hostel. “Me and the missus made you a little something for the road.”

“That’s very sweet Mossy, thank you,” Cate said as she stood to meet him. “Do I smell cinnamon?”

“Apple and cinnamon muffins, baked fresh this morning,” he replied proudly. “Least I could do for my favorite guests.”

“Favorite…? Where are they, I’d love to meet them,” Max said, looking around the room and under the table. “But to be serious for a moment: thanks for giving me a second home mate, I’ll never forget my time here.”

“It’ll be strange to not have my Vibe Quality Control around,” Mossy replied as he shifted from one foot to the other before awkwardly offering his hand. Max swatted it away and swooped in for a hug, his fingers barely managing to touch the middle of the big man’s back. “Alright, alright, that’s enough of that. You kids best get going before I decide to adopt the lot of ya.”

“My mum would be here in record time if you did,” Max said as he stepped back, his eyes moist. He blinked several times, looked around the room one final time and turned to Cate. “I guess we’re all set then?”

She nodded at him, a quick little jerking motion, before giving Mossy a hug of her own. He patted her back as gently as he could and then was enveloped on both sides by Greg and Cindy. He looked to Max with tears forming in his eyes and gave him a goodbye nod as he freed himself from the knot of arms around him.

“You drive safe, now,” he said gruffly. “And don’t forget to send me a few emails to let me know what you get up to.” They all assured him that they would and then gathered up keys and maps and headed outside.

“Keep in touch,” Max told the Brits for the tenth time that day. Cindy gave him and Cate big hugs, Greg shrugged before doing the same, then they got in their little red sedan. With a long final honk of the horn they pulled onto the road and headed north.

“I guess it’s our turn now,” he told Cate quietly.

“We’ll be by here again,” she assured him. “With some great stories to tell… so let’s get started on them!”

Max nodded and climbed into their white rental hatchback, wedging the tin of muffins into the pile of bags on the back seat. He started the engine then sat looking at the front of the hostel for several moments.

“See ya soon, Mossy’s Backpackers,” Cate said. “It’s been a blast.”

Without a doubt, that it has.

“Later Mossy’s,” Max said as he put the car into drive and stepped on the gas. “It’s been the best.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to new adventures with Max, Cate and the gang. it has been so much fun.