Published on May 21st, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie25
Ann’s Story: Chapter Two ‘The Glamorous Neighbour’
Yellow Magpie presents the second part of Ann’s adventure. You follow part one, Ann’s Story: Chapter One The Sequinned Dress here.
Back out on the familiar streets of her hometown, Crowley, Ann breathed in huge gulps of fresh air, and put on her usual smiley face.
‘Hello Ann,’ a good-humoured, female voice chimed.
‘Hello Mrs Gorry, lovely day.’ Ann replied trying to sound pleasant.
‘Yes thank God, I hope it doesn’t rain.’
‘I hope not, ha-ha.’ ‘O God.’ Ann groaned to herself.
The elation of moments earlier had now been replaced by frustration mixed with panic and both were competing with one another in Ann’s body, as she quickly walked home to the sanctuary of her house.
Uninvited, the dress popped into her head once again, like a glowing ember on a cold night. ‘Oh go away, you stupid thing’, but the more she tried to push it out of her head, the bigger it grew, until finally her whole head was filled with flashes of red, flickering and dancing on front of her.
Then it began to yell at her, ‘Look at me! I am sassy, daring, and magical, I am wonderful, mysterious, sexy and I can take you to places, you have hardly dared dream of.’
At last, Ann got home to be met by a screaming silence as she opened the front door. A shiver passed through her body, ‘I must get the fire going’ she thought.’ As she cleaned out the ashes from the stove in the kitchen, silent tears landed on the black cast iron, this time she allowed them flow, unchecked. She lit the fire, and sat down deflated and worn out.
Looking around her messy house, books and papers scattered everywhere, the floor needed sweeping, the windows cleaning, and the lawn mowing. Ann knew only too well what had to be done, but instead she switched on the television and watched until she went to bed.
The next morning her eyes were swollen, from the tears of the night before, and she had a pounding headache. She switched on the radio, ‘You’ve got to get yourself together you got stuck in the moment,’ U2 was singing. Ann, looked out through the grimy window, down to two trees at the bottom of her overgrown garden, ‘these are the only things I like about this house’, she thought.
‘You got stuck in the moment and you can’t get out of it,’ the song continued.
She looked into her wardrobe for something decent to wear and ignoring the promise she made to herself the day before ended up pulling on the same old tracksuit she vowed she would never be seen dead in again.
Just then she heard a car door slamming across the road, Ann looked out to see a woman wearing red jeans, and a crisp white shirt leaning into the back of a green car. She was pulling at something with one hand while the other was holding a mobile phone. The house across the road had been vacant for some time, but now the front door was wide open.
Ann heard it had been sold, and as she observed the woman, she wondered was this going to be her new neighbour. The slim woman with long dark hair, eventually managed to grab what she wanted from the back of the car, and pulled out a cardboard box, Ann could see that there were saucepans sticking out of the box. Then the woman, still talking on the phone, walked smartly up the path and in through the front door of the house.
Ann waited by the window for her to come back out again, and the thought came into her head to maybe give her a hand, but then she looked down at her dishevelled appearance and put the thought out of her mind. The woman came back out again, Ann reckoned she was about 50.
‘She has a fabulous figure,’ she thought as she noted that her jeans fit her in all the right places, and her blouse was open at the front to reveal just a hint of cleavage. Her dark brown hair was thick, shiny and healthy looking. Her face was free of make-up except for some pale pink lipstick on a full mouth.’ She looks very confident,’ Ann surmised as she studied what she now believed would be her neighbour.
Ann continued to watch the woman for most of the morning, fascinated at how the she walked and with the type of items she is bringing into the house. She brought in a laptop, what looked like a large hand crafted wooden bowl, a CD player, two huge glass vases, an assortment of bedlinen, in various colours, colourful scatter cushions, a box of shoes and clothes on hangers.
After lunch, a large removal van arrived, with furniture, a deep red leather chair, a cream coloured couch with sprigs of green foliage, a beautifully designed standard lamp, a computer desk, a kitchen table in light oak then four matching chairs. Wouldn’t you know it, Ann thought, ‘ I might have known a woman like her would have a man somewhere.
He arrived in a black Lexus, hair greying at the side, blue denim shirt, faded blue jeans, big watch on a tanned arm, he was just the type Ann would love, but as usual he belonged to someone else. He put his arm around the woman’s waist and kissed her. ‘Why do some women, have it all?’ Ann thought enviously.
The last of her stuff had been brought into the house now and the door closed. Ann was disappointed, she had been entertained for a while. She turned back to her own house and wondered what she could do for the rest of her Sunday.
On and off she went to the window, to see if there was anything new happening across the road, but the door was still closed. Ann picked up books, flicked through the pages, read nothing, then she began to clean the kitchen but quickly became discouraged at the amount of work there was to do and left it there. She went to the window again, the door across the road was open again.
‘Good what’s happening now,’ Ann, saw the woman coming out and going to the green carn, again, this time she opened the boot and took out a pile of books, and CDs, the man was helping her and together they laughed at some joke or other. Ann made up her mind, she didn’t like this woman. ‘She looks full of herself,’ she thought.
Once again, she made an effort to do something in her own house but nothing held her interest for long. She decided to go for a walk, she put on her tatty runners and headed out. As she was walking down to her gate, the woman and man appeared again, the woman waved over at Ann, and smiled.
‘Hi’ she said cheerily.
‘Hi’, Ann replied, taken aback at her friendliness.
‘Should I go over and welcome her to the road? Or should I just keep on going,’ She quickly decided on the latter. ‘I really should have gone over to her, but she doesn’t look like my type of person. We would have nothing in common’, Ann believed and kept walking.
It was seven 0’clock that evening before Ann arrived back from her walk, the door to the house opposite was closed, the light was on and the curtain was pulled, Ann looked at her own house, no light was shining in the window, it looked dark and lonely, just like how she was feeling herself.
‘Another weekend over, with nothing to show for it,’ Ann sighed to herself, ‘back to the grindstone in the morning’.
Once inside she switched on her electric blanket, put on the kettle for a cup of tea, took out a chocolate cake she had in the fridge and cut a huge chunk, before planking down in front of the television yet again.
She wondered what her new neighbours are doing across the road. She imagines them chatting, laughing, fixing things up in the house. ‘Who is she I wonder? What does she work at? I bet she has some exotic job, she certainly looks it.’
Ann stared at the television not really seeing or hearing anything, she was full of her own gloomy thoughts. That dreaded Sunday night feeling was taking hold of her as she bit into the enormous chocolate cake.
Ann finished off the night, looking at a soap and finally went to her bedroom. From her bed, she peeked through the curtain at the house across the road, to see if she could spot anything, but the door was still closed. The lights were on in all the rooms now, and the place looked alive and welcoming.
More next Saturday. Follow part one, Ann’s Story: Chapter One The Sequinned Dress, here.