The lady three doors down

The lady three doors down

Status: In Progress

Genre: Non-Fiction

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Status: In Progress

Genre: Non-Fiction

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Submitted: April 23, 2017

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Submitted: April 23, 2017

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A small house, the smallest on the block. Wrapped in grey pebble dash stucco. An iron hand rail, painted and peeling white, leading up the five cement steps. Never anyone in or out. Certainly a witch of some sort. A normal kid would be detoured, but I was a business women. I saw opportunity in her overgrown lawn and milky windows. I still remember the smell and the light, which always seemed consistent. Not dark but dull. The sun sneaking through cracks in the curtains, illuminating a million tiny dust particles, floating, dancing and finally settling on a stack of books, the kettle on the stove, and the old hard wood floor. The air was stale. The place was messy. Never more or less messy. Always the same. Half a sink of dirty dishes, a used teacup and pot on the coffee table and 3 sets of pantyhose hung up to dry in the kitchen by a string hung diagonally from the fridge to the pantry. It split the room in half. You could tell the kitchen table was never used as it fell in the corner beyond the pantyhose. I would run errands for this lady. I would ride my bike to the store and buy her a litre of milk or a dozen eggs. I would mow her lawn or weed her garden. In exchange she would pay me. She always paid me the same... with one of her late husbands sock filled with pennies. Always the same, "great job! Take the sock, run along". Be advised, this was the 80s, and a sock full of pennies went a long way. I didn't realize it at the time but that old lady washed by hand, and hung those pantyhose everyday. she would only wear night gowns but always wore pantyhose. One day I came by to see if she needed anything from the grocery store and she was crying at the kitchen table. There were no pantyhose hung. It was the first time I had ever seen anyone sit there. When I asked what was wrong, she looked up, engulfed in that one little sunbeam. She was as dusty as the kettle. With tears in her eyes she said to me " I can't get my pantyhose on". Even as a kid, I got it. It was never about the pantyhose. Heck, she never left the house. The pantyhose were something not always available. A sign of wealth, importance.. even love. This old lady had lost everything. Her job, her husband, her family and her mind. Not the ritual though... of hand washing and hanging her pantyhose to dry every night. So careful not to run them. I took her by the hand and and brought her to her rocking chair. I then went looking for her pantyhose. I went into her bedroom. I had never been in there. She had a beautiful hand carved chest of drawers. I opened the first drawer and found rows, and rows of black and blue socks filled with change. Next I checked the bathroom sink since I was sure she hand washed her pantyhose. All three pairs were soaking in the sink. I pulled one pair out and wrung them out the best I could, while blowing on them and holding them to the light. They were still a little damp. I thought maybe the cold would wake her up. When I came out from the bathroom I noticed how pale she looked. Well, not even pale.. like, translucent. More purple than anything. Veins and shit. I showed her the pantyhose and she cracked a smile, while stretching her leg out and pointing her toes. I did it. I pulled them passed her knees, then I stood her up facing me and pulled them over her waste. She kissed me on the forehead as I put her back down. She then pointed at a sock by the telephone. I took it, and left. The next day she died. I barely noticed. The sock was full of dimes and I was busy stacking them.


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The lady three doors down

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