Skip to main content

The Staircase

Who knew what mysteries lay beyond the dingy staircase? It had haunted her dreams for years.  Now she was standing right in front of it, with a sense of dread.

"Come on Lisa," said Frank.  "Let's get this over with."  Lisa knew he was terrified although he'd never admit it. Two other tenants, with grim expressions, were waiting  in the hallway.   Lena Carlson had last been seen four days ago.  She had presumeably been locked into her room since then.  The truth had to be discovered.  First they would try to unlock her door with the master key.  Then they would probably have to inform the police.

The door opened easily.  All was neat and orderly inside.  The small two-room flat was empty.  There were sighs of relief all round.

"So where is Lena?" cried Ann Forrest, one of the tenants.

"I'm right here!  What's going on?"  Lena was back!  Just a  misunderstanding owing to her failure to inform her landlord and fellow tenants that she had been called out of town when her  mother had suddenly taken ill.

A discussion followed.  It was decided that all tenants would inform the landlord in future of sudden trips out of town to safeguard against such incidences happening again.  Frank was mortified at having opened up a tenant's room, but explained that everyone had been worried.  All was settled within minutes.

Back in the car, Lisa was still very down, despite the relief in the air.

"Lisa," said Frank.  "What's going on?  You've been very quiet.   I notice you never want to visit this house with me.  Would you like to share what's on your mind?"

"Frank!  You know I used to live in a house on this road when I was a little girl.  The houses are all built the same.  It was my grandmother's house.  We moved here when I was five years old."  Lisa breathed deeply and went on.

"My grandmother was really old and very sick.  I could never bring myself to come near her.  She lived upstairs.  There was an awful smell of medicines and an atmosphere of sickness.   One day, when I was six, my mother called me and asked me to go to grandma because she had a gift for me.  I went upstairs, dreading it.  Grandma was  so happy.  She had some candy for me and I was so thrilled I hugged and kissed her, took the candy and ran away.  She died that night."  Lisa dissolved in tears.

"Mom told me that grandma died happy because I was affectionate to her.    But you know what?  I was only affectionate  because of the candy.  I feel so guilty....."

"Lisa," said Frank.  "You were a child.  Children are innocent.  It's only as adults that we understand the reality of sickness and death.  What's important is that your grandma got some happiness in her last moments, because of you.  You should be happy, not sad."  Lisa smiled through her tears.

"Do you really think so?" she said.  She looked lighter now.  Happy and free.

"I know so," he said.  "Now let's go home...."

Popular posts from this blog


Many years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I met someone nice and started dating. I wasn't serious, I just thought we could have nice interesting discussions about India, which I found absolutely fascinating, as I was working in the Embassy of India back then. I had no intention of getting attached with a foreigner, with all the attendant cultural problems. I was happy living in Ireland and the idea of marriage couldn't have been further from my mind. We both thought we could just keep things in control. One day, after a lot of emotional turmoil and denial, it hit us both that we were in love. Truly. Madly. Irrevocably. To the point where we couldn't live without each other. I'd known about the Indian system of arranged marriages and when it occurred to me that he would probably be married off by his family as soon as he returned to India, I felt physically ill at the thought. We are both tenacious and patient people. We realised that bringing our two worlds together

A Blogging Guru

This is what a guru looks like - well something like it! Back to blogging I'm back at my blogging again. Three blogs at the moment. Not bad really, is it? My favourite blogging adventure was my original expat blog, which, unfortunately, I had to close once I was no longer able to blog anonymously. Because it was what some of our US based friends might call 'way TMI.  This is my general blog, MBB is my book blog and My East/West Life is my current attempt at blogging about life in India for an Irish wife. Then there's the experimental writing blog on Wordpress....and you know, can you believe I've been blogging for ten years now? Yes, that's right. But I've taken a looooong hiatus from blogging recently owing to the loss of a beloved family member. And I've stood back from the blogging a little. And then I came back. And amazingly, I've discovered stuff I never knew before. New discoveries I discovered that owing to Adsense ads, I've

The Tale of One Kitty

The cat..... Those who know me already might say that they didn't know I had a cat.  I didn't, you know! Our dog, Duggu is such a handful, I didn't think we could take on another pet. But a few months ago, a beautiful cat (whom we eventually named Puggle)  arrived. She's not really ours..... Nope! She's someone else's cat who just went on what the Aussies might call a walkabout. My younger daughter Riya found her on the roof of our house, a pretty calico (three-coloured) cat. Riya was instantly smitten. Some milk was fed to the little creature and the deal was sealed. Puggle has been a regular visitor to our house ever since. And two days after she arrived, in mid-May, she gave birth to four kittens. We'd had no idea the kitty was enceinte. So what did we do? What can you do? If a single mom landed on your doorstep and gave birth in your house, what would you do? Try to help, obviously. As the cat bore no identification and had been roaming the colony unst