Never open the door at night.
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door;
Only this, and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Lenore,.
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore,
Nameless here forevermore.
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me---filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
" 'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door,
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door.
This it is, and nothing more."
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is, I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you." Here I opened wide the door;---
Darkness there, and nothing more.
Dear Edgar. Sorry I borrowed so heavily from The Raven.
Oh if only that were true, if only I had stayed quiet. If only it had been the ghost of Lenore. Such folly! I was in my jammies, I had hot chocolate, I had showered and was feeling sleepy and beginning to think bed might be the place for me after all. But nay, I opened the door, oh so cheery, bigger of the cats in my arms, ready to fling him at any attacker, only to find...
'I....ssnnsooocoeeeo....he...bastard...sniff sniff he..then he...sniff sniff...bastard.'
'Hello Etheline.' I said, gripping the cat so hard he farted. Parp. We, he and I, were frozen stiff in horror at my stupidity. Had I not been warned that this might happen? Had not one of the very gays called very me that very evening to warn of this very event?
'Very.' I said.
He has spied her in Davey Byrnes after work, flinging Gin and Tonics back and screaming abuse down her mobile while a gaggle of her friends sat around her looking vicious and sorta pleased with themselves.
I peered past her, wondering how on earth she had managed to get into the building. I had heard the bell earlier and ignored it.
'What the hell is wrong with your phone?'
'Jesus, sniff. I've been ringing your fucking bell for ages! sniff sniff.'
I arched one eyebrow in surprise. She had only rung it once, the impatient sot. 'You have? Oh I was in the shower you see, I was just getting ready for-'
'I had to wake your neighbour, Jesus what a bitch she is.' She brushed past me -a thwack of Opium rocked me back on my heels- the cat's hackles rose and I was alarmed to see she was carrying an over night bag with her.
She had woken the harpy! The cold hand of horror gripped me ever tighter, the cat was beginning to struggle. I cut off his air supply with my arm, he went limp again.
'Oh!' She wailed, I heard her open the glass press, clink clink. 'You would not believe the week I've had! It's finished between me and that asshole! First he tells me he is leaving me, then he rings me up and says...'
I took a step backwards and then hesitated. Would it look odd if I left? I was in bare feet true, but so what? I could wear high heels eighteen hours a day, my feet were tough. I might make it, I could flee...but in cotton jammies with pink rabbits? What of my reputation? I should at least be wearing a silk babydoll nightdress. And this was my home, why should I be the one to leave? Panicked, dumbfounded, rigid with indecision, I dithered too long.
'Are you going to shut that door, sniff, I'm freezing. Where do you keep the whiskey? Oh Cat, oh Cat...'she wailed,dropping her coat on the floor-even though a perfectly good coat-rack stood but mere feet away- 'you won't believe what he actually said to me... to ME! That fucking bastard, I threw the ring at him. We're through this time, through!'
'Harrrrhhhhh.' I sighed. I dropped the cat onto the tiles and booted him gently back towards the sitting room and watched as he fled, huge-tailed, under the writing desk. Nothing for it now. I had been remiss in my guarding, and it had cost me dear.
My sister was staying the night.
Sleep, perchance to dream, nope. Not this night.
I made my way to the linen cupboard for the fresh sheets, cursing under my breath.
'He is a bastard, he is a liar and a bastard! Oh...' I heard her slither to a stop behind me, noted the hint of disapproval in her voice. '...Jesus, is that fucking suede wallpaper?'
This is how women in my family say, 'I hate it.'
An image of 'Chinatown' surfaced within me: Jack Nicholson slapping Faye Dunaway silly, slightly altered.
My sister/my mother/my sister/my mother/my sister and my mother!
I buried my hands deeper into the cupboard.
'Where's the Jamesons?'
'I don't have any.'
Was there room under the writing desk for another, I wondered idly.