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Fpa 8

Hits 3898 | Created 2007-06-13 | Modified 2007-06-13

Dusseldorf: Enchantress

The door was locked to X's flat and James couldn't open it.  We all tried, with rising fear.  All the other keys in James's pockets were also tried without any luck.  We stood in the hallway, puzzled and and rather scared.  X would be away for at least a week.  We decided to go downstairs to consider our next move.  We all silently knew that were were now either homeless for a week, or we would have to return to Jacqueline and ask her if we could stay with her.  We coculdn't even bring ourselves to speak of the possibility of returning to Jacqueline yet.
   On the way out of the front door I had a strange urge, eyeing a locked up bike in the hallway, I asked James to try the door key in the bike lock.
   It fitted, the lock sprung off with a 'prang!' and fell to the floor.
   We all stared at the lock, blankly.
   James began to defend himself in a stammer, 'I picked up the key off the table, I tried it in the door!' He ended in a kind of sob.
   We questioned him further - did he lock the door with it?  Did he really try the lock with that key?  Was he sure he didn't leave another key on the table?  James swore that he had locked the door upstairs with the key that had now unlocked the bike.  We gave up and walked out into the night.
   It wasn't dawn yet and we wandered to a park across the street, huddling together inside a childrens' climbing frame hut to try and keep warm.
   No one spoke for a long time.
   'Ralph, lead us in a meditation.' Said Dan.
   I felt the same emotion as when people try and drag me onto a dance floor - I stubbornly dug in my heels and refused.  We each led our own little meditation until the dawn broke.

In the cold light of day, things seemed a little different.  James was still silent with a haunted look in his eyes and Dan simply looked startled.  We discussed our options.
   'We may be able to get a spare key from the shop below the apartment,' said James, and then added in a mumble, 'or maybe not.'
   It was out best option so far.  It was 6am.  The shop finally opened at 9am.  We walked over the apartment block and pushed James into the shop and waited on the street for him.  After ten minutes of shoe-staring and shuffling feet James reappared with the expected bad news: No key.  He did have another plan though - for some reason he had the phone number of X's landlord (we didn't ask why), and perhaps they would have a spare key?
   I was doubtful.  If some spaced out vagrants called me up to aks for a spare key to a flat I rented out, telling our story, I probably wouldn't give them one.  Still, I said it was a good idea and we pushed James into the nearest phone box (we picked on him because he spoke a little German and we also considered him responsible for our position, somehow).
   No answer.
   We sat on the street.  I felt tired and dirty and homeless.  People were beginning to give us a wide berth.
   With heavy hearts we slowly retraced our steps back to Jacqueline.

***


Jacqueline didn't look at all surpsied to see us, she simply stood to one side and we walked silently past her.  We then followed her into the kitchen and she made us some tea.
   'I told you you couldn't leave,' she said, sweetly.
   We were speechless for a while.
   Eventually, I related the key story to her.
   'Hmmm,' she said when I had finished,  'come on Ralph, let's go for a walk.'
   I had just finished my tea as she said this and James and Dan looked at me expectantly.  They wanted me to go for a walk with her, no doubt.

We walked mostly in silence, it was a warm, sunny day by now and the sun gave me a new energy.  I began to relax.  Jacqueline chatted away about her chaos and my clam and outlined some tremendous plans for the future for us.  She talked about her past lives and past boyfriends (in this life), about her abusive childhood in grisly details.  The neighbourhood changed slowly, becoming more ghetto-like and funky.  Grafitti began to appear on walls - small tags at first, growing into full wall designs of monsters, needles and insects.  Music played in the streets, old cars rusted peacefully in the road.
   'I love this area,' she told me, 'it's so….' She looked for the word, '…Real!'
   She led me along some thin streets and back alleys until we arrived at a roughly painted door.  It reminded me of the bathroom door that the madman across the street from me as a child had put up in place of his conventional front door.  It had the tiny lock on the outside.
   Jacqueline banged on the door and we heard approaching noise from within.
   'I wanted you to meet Gil,' she said, and then added, just as the door was opening, 'we were lovers.' I shot a look at her.  'Hello Gil!' she said to a tall, thin, hollow eyed German who was now standing in the doorway, looking at Jacqueline with a complex look.  He glanced at me.
   'Come in,' he said, retreating into the gloom.
   Gil made coffee while I felt self-conscious and they chatted.  They talked about his art and people I didn't know.
   Suddenly Gil was on his feet, shouting as Jacqueline, 'Not your father again Jacqueline!' He swore and then continued, 'I don't want to hear this crap any more!' 
   He quickly deflated and then handed me a cup of coffee.  The grinds were floating on the surface as it had just been made in a pan on a stove.  Unfamiliar with this particular coffee technique I took a brave mouthful and sat there chewing away on the grinds.
   Gil looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, 'Perhaps you should leave it to settle a while?'  He climbed up a ladder and into a room above us.
   Jacqueline pressed her lips to my ear and whispered, 'He's very sick, he's going to die.' She then bounded up the ladder after him, leaving me alone in the kitchen.
   'Gil? I'm going to take a shower, okay?' she shouted.  I heard the soft thump of her clothes as she peeled them off above my head and let them fall onto the floor.

 

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