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She is at the Door

by  PaulaBlake

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Word Count: 468
Summary: Lou visits the house she grew up in once again.

She is at the door; the brushed steel frame holding the cheap frosted glass in place looks cold and uninviting. She remembers how it used to be…exactly that, cold and uninviting; at least it always was when he was there.

It was the type of door the local Council installed when they felt they need to tidy up a housing estate, succeeding only in making the houses look like a carbon copy of each other. Louisa liked it, all her friends had one the same, it was silly really, but being new wasn’t fun, having a council house meant she was the same as the other kids and not picked on like the posh ones were, the ones whose parents owned their own homes. It was a happy place to be, unless he was there.

Inside, the smell of home cooking is comforting, stew and dumplings – always was her favourite, leftover Sunday roast made into stew which lasted a couple of days then those leftovers were made into a pie with mash, soggy cabbage and thick gravy made from the roast’s juices. Of her mothers cooking, she dared only to dislike the sausage meat lattice pie, her mother was furious
“Food is NOT thrown away in my house when there are children dying of starvation in Ethiopia.”
Lou had sat there until it was dark, the lattice was stone cold, and she was forced to eat it for breakfast after going to bed hungry. Bedtime was when he came.

The telephone rings and Louisa jumps back to the present, it’s someone else’s phone now but she has a giggle at the memory of her mother’s genius idea of putting a lock on it that summer to stop over-use while she was out at work. Louisa found a way of bypassing the lock completely. The bill that summer was extortionate and a long ‘discussion’ ensued with BT about how it couldn’t possibly have been run up due to the lock. BT ended up crediting the whole bill, probably for a quiet life, Louisa thought.

Things have gone full circle now; Louisa lives here again and has learned to live with him. She has returned to where she was happiest and he is still here, trapped like he always was. He makes the same aggravated heavy walk across the landing and through the bedrooms every night, rattling coat hangers in frustration, then he occupies the stairwell for the evening laughing heartily at each person he can make shiver and climb the stairs with their backs against the wall, giving them the feeling that someone is chasing and snapping at their heels! Just like he did with them.

He tells Louisa he is looking for his horse, she doesn’t know why. She isn’t scared anymore, she is like him now.