They’re coming. The creaks warn me, telling me they’re on their way. Creak; wait one- two- three. Creak, wait- wait. Creak, creak. Silence, wait, one- two. Then the tap on the door. The door opens.
“Morning, and how are we today?”
The creaks were right. They’re here, all bright and breezy. Second one won’t be far behind. The first one draws the curtains, straightens the duvet, plumps the pillows.
“Morning, are we alright today?”
You stupid woman; patronising. Can’t you see I’m alone. There’s no one else. Not in here.
“Are we going down to breakfast today?”
I smile and nod, indicating ‘yes’. It’s the answer she wants to hear. Better than me saying, ‘sorry, but I ain’t going up, sweetie. Not yet anyway.’
The creaks are shouting again. I count; awaiting the new arrival. There’s no tap on the door this time.
“Morning. Is he going down today?”
Bitch. Hello, I am here. Why can’t you ask me? I may be occasionally incontinent, but I’m not totally inconsequential. Not to everyone.
I move my legs over the side of the bed and sit up. My mouth’s dry and the words stick in a queue at the back of my throat. They come out with a cough and a gob of phlegm. I tell them I am going down to breakfast.
“I’ll go bring the lift up,” the second one says and starts to leave.
“No, not today” I say. “I want to walk down. I’m getting up. Just give me time to get dressed. ”
I see them look at each other, then one glances at her watch. They hover, uncertain what to do.
I clear my throat again and bark out “Come back in ten minutes.”
They look at each other again. Then the first one smiles, “Well, if you’re sure. I won’t be far away. I’ll be back to see how we’re getting on.” They leave the room and the door closes behind them.
The creaks start up again, telling me they’ve gone. I close my eyes and the sun spreads her warm fingers across my face, gently caressing my cheeks. It feels good. A few more seconds then I’ll ready myself.
By the time the creaks start chorusing the second coming I am ready and standing by the window. The door opens, catching the thick pile of the carpet and a voice asks, “Are we decent?”
I catch the look of surprise and smile back.
“Well, I don’t want my breakfast to get cold,” I say.
The first one takes my arm and we leave, walking along the passageway to top of the stairs.
Creak, creak, silence; one- two- three; creak, creak. Then a final creak as we pass on our way.
“These old wood floors,” she says. “I’m sure they’re getting worse.”
We descend the stairs and out of earshot the creaks continue.A
One day I’ll tell her. It’s not the old wood floors at all.
Words and photographs Copyright © 2016 by Antony J Waller