Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Another leap into the unknown for me and with faith, I will post some of my fiction writing here from time to time. This is an excerpt from writing that I am working on just now, it is an early part of Rachel's story.
I turn the key over in my hand. It is a heavy with a perfect circle that my thumb locks into. Not a message as such, just the means to open the door to a new chapter. The key represents safety and a tangible place to rest for me. My lawyer handed it over to me this morning. He had called me from his dusty offices, piled high with papers and leather binders last week, the appointment was this morning. Mr Johnston was coughing more than usual and looked quite tired and dishevelled. I imagine when my mother first engaged with him that he cut a rather different figure, just as well none of us have a mirror to our future selves. Time had not been kind to Mr Johnston.
He asked me to open an envelope, which contained keys and particulars of a flat. My benefactor had arranged a property for me to live in and there were no payments to be made other than the bills, which my income should be sufficient to cover. I was not in any way surprised by this. My decision to come back to London and to remain quiet and purposeful for a period would have prompted this type of gesture. My years of travel and adventure were over for now. I was relived to surrender to a safe harbour, to exist with little pressure, stress or pain.
If I had been in flight I was now grounded and the ground beneath my feet on a daily basis felt safe and the anonymity of the city a cloak to surround me. Mr Johnston and I made the final arrangements for what little possessions I had left here to be moved from storage to the flat. He assured me that the flat was furnished beautifully and that I should ensure that I had all that I needed in addition. I thanked him and clasped his hand, an unconscious echo of my mother's gestures here in this stuffy room many years ago. I asked him to visit me in the cafe if he was passing Chapel Street. He coughed again, coloured slightly and asked me to take care of myself.
It was almost as if the square had been in my mind for some time. It felt familiar, comfortable but new all at the same time. It was quiet and it was beautiful. Well heeled but still bohemian enough to have traces of a community. The gardens in the centre were full of mature trees and flower beds, children were playing, neighbours meeting to talk. It would be a haven in the summer. My key was leading me to a corner block on the edge of the square. I could see that the flat would have windows on three sides and that it would be peaceful in the back rooms. I stepped up two flights of stairs and the heavy main door opened into a light filled hall. There were polished wooden boards, white walls and doors opening off at all angles with dazzling light flooding through.