Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Stain Glass Window

I have a lot of time on my hands these days so I'll share a story about me. 

I once saw a stain glass window in a house that had a stain glass picture of Jim Robinson from Neighbours.

My job as a care worker for elderly people meant I saw my fair share of odd ornaments and paintings, but this was by far the oddest.

I got the call that a Mrs Draper had broken her ankle and wanted a visit to see if she get any help.

So I left the office and drove to Fowey, a little harbour town in Cornwall.

After arguing with the satnav, I eventually found the house and knocked on the door.

A voice shouted "come in dear!" and I followed the voice into what looked like a living room.

In a corner, sitting in an old armchair was an old lady, one hand held a remote control as she flicked through the channels on a big widescreen TV.

The other was pointing at me.

"Mrs Draper I'm..."
She interrupted me "I'll need my meals delivered, three times a day, can you do that dear?" "And shopping, I'll need shopping ok?"

As I tried to find a way to say something helpful I noticed a small painting at the top of the living room wall.

Looking closer I noticed it wasn't a picture, but a small stain glass window.

I walked towards it as Mrs Draper listed ingredients for a hot pot and as I got closer I saw there was the face of a man made of stain glass in the window.

He looked familiar. Did I know him? 
Those eyes, the hairline, was it someone fam....hang on!

It was Jim Robinson! From Neighbours! Yes!

He was doing that sort of nearly smile he did. Bloody hell a stain glass Jim Robinson, that will be something to tell the office when I get back. Mrs Draper turned her head and...

noticed what I was looking at. She sighed and stared at me, such an icy stare. 

I felt cold, the same cold you feel when you wake from a nightmare and the world is still part scary, you know you've woken up but the fear still drips from the darkness.

"Isn't that...I mean why have...Jim Robinso.....what a fantastic window!" My Britishness was back in control. 

It doesn't matter how weird or scary things are, rationalise and be polite. And smile at walls. 

"You like it dear?" 
"Yes, who madehowlonghasitbeeni'mfromsocialservices..." My Britishness was now in defence mode.

"Oh you're quicker than the others dear, aren't you a bright one?"

I nodded as my brain did the opposite of nodding.

"I collect things, always have, that's why I'm still here, you could say it keeps me alive."

Now I'd read enough stories to know that this is when you look for an exit, say a hurried goodbye and leave.

So obviously I stayed.

And I don't know why, but I sat down on a chair that I didn't even  know was there

I didn't move. No, not didn't, I couldn't move.

"He was in a panto here you know? Big star from Austraila, I worked in the gift shop next to the theatre. Couldn't wait to meet him! My grandchildren loved him. 

Well they did then, now they just hang around all day. He came into the shop on his last day of the pantomime. 

Didn't say hello, just grumpily asked if I sold Cornish sweets, then walked out before I had chance to answer."

"Such a rude man, I'd hoped to have a photo with him for my grandchildren, he just stomped out, nearly got away, but he didn't know who I am, what I do, silly man."

Mrs Draper stood up, all of her slouchy crooked old lady shapes seemed to straighten out. She looked at me, in me, sniffed and breathed in.

"So I taught him a lesson, like I always do, like all the others"

She pointed at the wallpaper. Except it wasn't wallpaper. There were pictures of faces, in small frames. On the wall. Dozens of them.

I moved closer, wanted to look at them. 

But I couldn't. 

Frozen in the nightmare chair that wasn't there. Dizzy and scared. The wall moving towards me.

There are over twenty of us now, trapped in cheap wooden frames on Mrs Drapers wall. 

All day and all night all we have is our thoughts. We see everything, feel everything, but can't move, can't escape. 

There is no day, there is no night. Just Mrs Drapers wall and the sound of screams from the new people who join us.

Sometimes I think if we all scream at the same time someone will hear us and help. 

But we don't. 

So I just watch, forever, and keep telling the story of the stain glass window with the picture of Jim Robinson from Neighbours. 

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