susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Things that go crunch in the night

I'm woken by footsteps, crunching in the gravel on the flat roof over my bedroom. I should explain, my bedroom was once the garage, now with a door from the kitchen, and french windows into the garden, a single storeyed building on the side of my house. In the summer, I sleep with the french windows open to the night air, and the possibility of strangers creeping into my garden ...

Did I dream the crunching footsteps? I listen. Finn continues to sleep in his usual place in the centre of my bed, my legs twisted round his warmth. There they are again. I'm wearing the blue satin nightdress, and it's not cold outside, despite being in the middle of January. I go to the front door, and out into the front garden. Indeed there is a young man wandering around on the flat roof.

'What are you doing there?' I ask him, as if it's normal to discuss one's whereabouts on a rooftop at 1.45 am. 'Spying on Tim,' is the reply. Tim, whose bedroom faces out of the back of the house, where the flat roof doesn't reach. 'How did you get up there?' I ask again. There's a moment of deep consideration. 'The ladder at the back,' he answers. I ask if he can get down the ladder, but it appears not ...

I go back inside - actually, it is chill out there - and upstairs, knocking on Tim's door. He and Jess have been to a beer festival. There is, of course, no response to my fairly loud repetitions of his name, even when I poke my head round the door. Next door, Paul the lodger's light is on, so I knock there. Paul comes outside with me.

I now know who the visitor is, of course. 'Are you pissed?' I call up. 'No!,' stoutly. 'Er, yes.' Paul goes round to the back of the house, and by the time I go back, he and Tom have appeared through the conservatory door. Tom says Tim rang him and told him to come round - but of course, Tim's dead to the world. And I do remember Tim's drunken ramble on his mobile, when I picked him and J up from the beer festival. I offer Tom a sofa and a quilt for the night, which he accepts, then joins Paul, who's watching a late night film. Boys will always be boys ...


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