Not even the boy with the brown curls and green eyes.
I keep walking, the fallen leaves brushing at my ankles, helping me along.
Hailing a taxi I gave him the last of my money. I needed a job, and as we drove I looked out the window at the tall ancient buildings, with vines trailing round the door ways and window frames small pavements cracked and corroding against time small dandelions pulling out of the concrete.
I’m one of thoughs I thought.
We stop at the place I asked, a tower of flats, and lives, all crowded and piled on each other, infinite worlds in each room. I try to smile at driver, but he’s looking straight ahead, step out and pulling my suitcase behind me I stand desolate at the entrance, and pull at the frail door, my pale hand twisting at the knob. It’s locked, I knock, my knuckles hurting at the impact.
An angry voice cracks through the cold quite air, shocks me, because it’s so loud and angry, snap shots passing through my mind before I could block them. I take a few steps back tripping over the steps, I fall grazing my hands my suitcase tumbling out of my grip and at that moment the door opens and despite the voice the carrier was small and plump, and flowery apron and rosy cheeks. I took it in silently, quietly, she was staring at me and I realised that I was still on the ground my heart still shaking I got up grabbed my suitcase and stood there awkwardly, and I realised that I hadn’t spoken, since I got here. People had always spoke for me. Not once.
‘I was wondering if you have a spare room.’
It felt so strange my voice had always been mine, mine. It felt like I was drawing colours in the air with it. She was still watching me, a penetrating glare that sunk through my skin, was she still waiting.
‘So-sorry, I’ll find somewhere else’
My voice hurting, and I started to back away, she turned her head and yelled, again,
‘Janet!’ I froze, who was Janet? Another lady appeared at the door and I stared, her face was marked with scares and warped as if she’d been burnt, she smiled it reached to her eyes a soft warm light and just like that I knew I would trust her.
‘You want a place to stay, hon?’
She was still waiting
‘I have no money, I spent the last of it to get here, but I’ll get a job soon, I just need a place to stay , get myself in order, but I promise I’ll pay you back’
They looked at each other smiled,
‘Come in sweetie’
She said, and just like that I was accepted, one grabbed my suit case and my coat and the other took me inside to a warm, kitchen taking hands in her she bandaged them, Janet watching over.
When she was done they made tea asked me a few questions which I answered or avoided, they didn’t push me respecting my secrecy.
I learned the plumper ones name was Angie. When they were done they took me up a winding narrow staircase past many rooms so, many lives, we passed an old wrinkled man sitting in a small patch of sunlight that seeped across the dark hallway we were now in. He looked as if he’d been preserved in stone, frozen in time, time itself. Then father down to my room.
They opened my door and stood there, waiting Janet holding my coat and Angie cradling my suitcase, we stood there and waited, then I opened my door with the key they’d given me earlier.
They grinned crazy grins when I looked at them and handed me my things
‘You like it’? she asked
‘It’s a lovely room, the view that window over there holds is special, especially on the sunrise and set’ murmurs Angie.
Janet frowns, and looks away, as if she’d remembered something. I wondered why. I step in and they walk away. Listing as their voices carried over the hall
She’s not coming back Janet, we’ve waited for a long, long time
It good we can help somebody again
We didn’t fix her! Janet! We went there!
We have another chance…
Then their voices faded away, I was tempted to follow but the risk of getting caught was too much especially now.
I looked out again and saw that the old man was gone so was the patch of light. I look around, walk to the window, my fingertips trailing on the dusty bed rail and smile and exhilarated feeling swooping through me, the light was fading, my calm was leaving me I didn’t want to sleep or the dreams would come, I knew they would. These a book case in the corner so I look through them, who ever lived here loved old things, old books, the washing basin in the corner, the antique radio and the bright red armchair in the corner, next to the book case. Was it that girl? The one they were talking about. I grab a book still wondering and skimmed through planning to unpack in a minute, it was In Search of Lost Time. I got lost in its pages grateful for the distraction, I’m in another world, I read ‘till the blackness caught me before I could catch it.