Monday, August 14, 2017

The Key (short story)

"Funeral Services for Miss M. F. O. O'Byrne, 28 Arnfordstreet, Cloonaconelly, who died Tuesday, will be held Monday at 4,30 PM at the Shepherd's Mortuary.
Miss Margaret Fianoula Oonagh O'Byrne was born in Kircknacarry on May 18 - 1922 and lived in Cloonaconnelly since 1945. No occupation. Relatives of Miss O'Byrne unknown.
To whom it may concern, please contact below if you have any information about relatives of Miss O'Byrne.

Campbell Clarke and Maguire, Solicitors 
Cloonaconelly, March 23, 1962"

    The small piece of yellowed paper, cut from a newspaper, swirled down from the drawer where I looked for the archive of my ancestors. I did not know where it came from and to which file it belonged. And I would not have paid any attention to it if the name O'Byrne hadn't caused a strange stir in my stomach. A feeling I could not explain.
   I read the announcement over and over again and tried to remember where I heard the name before. Although not an uncommon surname, I never met an O'Byrne and I had never heard of the town or village Cloonaconelly. I turned to the computer next to me and Googled the town which turned out to be an old village in Northern Ireland, 300 miles from where I lived. I logged on to the telephone directory and found the solicitors, still listed with all three names. I did however, not find 'O'Byrne' which wasn't a great surprise given the fact that according the announcement, relatives were unknown.

  It was very quiet in the archive of the Genealogical Foundation, there were no other people. What I did next was against my character and the rules of the Foundation; I hid the piece of paper in my wallet, closed the drawer with the files and left for home where I spent much time studying the family tree that partly covered the wall of my study, to look for any clues. I was determined to find the cause of that strange stir and it was only logical to search within my family. But nothing at all indicated I was in some way related to Miss Margaret as I called her. Still......

   During a week of studying, thinking, reading and bad sleeping, I had a dream, a very strange dream in which a voice mentioned I was not a legitimate Kavanagh. The voice told me to go back to the archive and the look for my birth certificate.
So I did, I spent hours and hours going through files in drawers and on the Internet but my birth was no where mentioned. Oh yes, I did have a birth certificate but how odd that it was never registered!!
The voice never returned but had seeded serious doubts about my origin. Were the people that I called Mum and Dad my real parents? Was my marriage that tragically ended with the sudden death of my beloved wife, legal? What was my real name? Who was I? I copied my original birth certificate and asked a friend specialised in old documents, to take a look at it.
The outcome although not unexpected, turned my whole life upside down: it was an excellent falsification.
I decided to travel to Cloonaconnelly, contacted Campbell, Clark and Maguire for an appointment with Maguire Junior who recommended the Lion Inn and booked a train.

    My visit to the solicitors was shocking. Maguire Junior, concerned about my well being, asked his secretary for sandwiches and a pot of strong tea. He also asked her to cancel his next appointments. He too understood that my history was totally rewritten by the find of the announcement.
A local newspaper from 1946, attached to the will of Miss O'Byrne told a story I had not found on the Internet. The story of the young mother that moved to a small village in Northern Ireland, in the last month of her pregnancy. She was well mannered and obviously wealthy but there was no husband. He died not long ago; he never recovered from the injuries from the Second World War, so she said. People called her Miss instead of Mrs and she never corrected them. She was a loner and became a hermit after the enormous tragedy 3 months after she gave birth to her child, a lovely boy with blond hair and blue eyes.

   When Miss O'Byrne was in the garden with doors and windows open due to the lovely warm weather, her son was stolen from his cradle. She was devastated, cried, blamed herself, searched day and night.So did the police but her child seemed to have vanished in thin air. Evil tongues spoke against her: she killed her own son and buried him in the garden. Though after she passed away in 1962, no remains were found.
She lost contact with the villagers and turned out to be dead for several days when she was found. Post mortem revealed that she died of natural courses. "A broken heart"said the kind villagers. "Of guilt" said the gossipers. The police found a letter to the solicitors who put the announcement in the newspaper but no one ever turned up.

   After numerous cups of tea and two sandwiches, Maguire Junior showed me an old photograph, a sepia portrait of a young woman. I looked at it and was shocked to see a very young and female edition of my own face and than I knew what the solicitor already understood: I was that little boy that suddenly disappeared.
We parted with an appointment for the next day, I walked to the hotel where I spent hours and hours to come to terms with my past but I failed. It was too much to take in.

   The next morning I was given an envelope with a handwritten letter and 2 keys and the address of my mother's villa. I was told to expect a derelict house after decades of neglect and to be careful stepping on wooden floors and climbing stairs.
The large key was of the front door with the rusty hinges that made a ghostly creaking sound when I firmly pushed. My feet hit a large pile of old papers that released a musty smell of decay. I carefully walked through the house, still furnished as she left it when she died. Everything was covered in thick layers of dust that danced in the light peeping through the holes of the fading curtains.
Wallpaper, once with bright roses, curled down the walls like forgotten flowers. Carpets muffled the sound of my feet. I stood still in the middle of the room and listened to noises from the past. Did she sing for me? Could I still hear her voice to which I had no memory at all? Did she walk up and down the room with me if I cried? So many questions but the only answers were silence, total deep silence.

   I looked for a door for the second key but did not find it until I was upstairs where only one door was locked. To my astonishment, nor the key or hinges made a noise, the door swung open if it hadn't been locked for so long. I wasn't prepared for what I saw and I only noticed I was crying when I tasted my salt tears. In front of me stood a cradle.
A beautiful cradle made from the finest willow branches, now touched by time, and partly covered by beautiful expensive lace, too delicate to touch. The lace that she touched with her hands, the lace that protected the baby...... me. Did she smile when she looked through the lace at my face? Did her hands carefully fold it away before she lifted me in her arms? I imagined I heard her voice, a soft whisper. Or was it the wind?

   I do not know how long I stood there till I finally noticed the news papers scattered on the floor. The newspapers that mentioned the tragedy of the lost baby. The mingled ink and letters witnesses of her many tears. Her grief.
Photo: Darren Nisbett Fine Art Photography
Did she return to this room after she knew I would not come back? And if she did was she still, did she cry or call for me? Did she rock the empty cradle and sing?

   I finally read the letter my mother wrote to me, as if she knew one day I was going to find my true roots.
And finally I could hear her cry, loud and grieving, full of sorrow and pain.

Or was it the house that groaned under the weight of 70 lost years?


Word of thanks: the photo of @darrennisbett (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Darren!

Link: the beautiful website Darren Nisbett Fine Art Photography

Note: the story is pure fiction! A figment of my imagination!

Helen

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Little Doors (short story)

"Are you like me? Orderly, introvert, tidy, easy going, laid back?
Oh, and not to forget handsome, rich, well dressed, wealthy! Idyllically the perfect son in law!

You might think I am exaggerating; thinking too much of myself. You will say: "Nobody is all that...."
But my dear, I am all that! I really am....
Your next question will be: "Than you are already taken....". No sweetheart, I am not.
Yes, I know, you are astonished aren't you? No one can be all that and still not taken.
Well, I am your living example, it is possible. I have to admit that it is not my free choice, I met many women I wanted to share my life with but although I have so much and beyond to offer, they never wanted to share their lives with me. Strange isn't it?

As soon as I invited them home, the relationship changed. Yes, I have a home, quite big really. I am not telling you secrets if I say it is a very, very big Estate with woodlands, fields and a long drive way with a gate guarded by big statues of lions. And of course a gate keeper as I prefer to keep the gates locked as often as possible. Maybe this scares my female visitors off? Being locked up? Why would they if they have all my money to spend, an Estate, the most handsome man on earth and many servants?
Indeed, if you and I will get along and marry, you will have servants; people who keep the Estate in good order, who look after you. I even have doctors and nurses, a bookkeeper, gardeners.
You look surprised.... this is not what you expected, isn't it?And they are all yours.

Of course I am wealthy enough to pay all the staff, I just told you that. And do you know that I know them all by name? Each one of them. And they appreciate that, they respect me, you can tell by the way they talk to me, with low voices, kind and patient. They know that they should not upset me, not to make me angry. Am I a violent person you ask me? No, I am not. I am always kind and calm.
No no, this is not true. I agree I can be upset if I the bookkeeping is not in good order, I hate disorderly paperwork. Oh yes, this can annoy me so very much!!! But please keep this as a secret.

I think I am going to tell you another secret, are you ready for it? And will you promise me not to leave me?
Promise!!! Yes... good girl!

All the staff I just mentioned; there are not as many as I want you to believe. Somehow they don't stay here for long. I replace them for others but sometimes, when I stayed in my room for too long, again staff members left. And lately I can't find new members as easily as I used to. And the new ones are often not as polite as the ones of who I thought were loyal to me.
Do you think they are jealous? Jealous of my status, my money, my good looks?

Another secret is that I do not trust my new staff any more. I think they are betraying me.
In what way, you ask me? I suspect them to add pills to my food. Not that I need pills of course, but I am almost certain they try to poison me! Yes, that frightens you too, doesn't it? Poisoning, mind you!!!
And they avoid me as well, I see less and less people walking around. They don't talk to me as they did before, they avoid me. Now I come to think of it, yes, they avoid me!! How dare they!! I pay them very good wages and want to be obeyed!!

Oooohhh.... now I am getting angry, very angry!!
Are you listening to me? Where are you? You walked away from me, come back!! Come back I tell you!!
Where is everybody? Where are you? Where is the other staff? Why am I on my own? Nobody told me that they were going to leave the Estate, to leave me....
Photo: @glory.of.dispair
Did you leave a note? Whatever note? Are your notes in the cupboard? The large cupboard down the hall?
The one with all the little doors, doors that thrive me sick....... little doors that remind me of all the little doors in my head. Doors with hidden thoughts that disappear every time I open one.
I want to know what is behind those doors, I want to understand but all I see is paper, sheets, files, prescriptions, names of other people..... I am angry, I do not want papers, I want my thoughts back....!!"


        The lamp dangling from the ceiling didn't shed a light any more at the enormous chaos, found by a visitor of a long forgotten Estate.
The man looked around, his hand protecting his nose against the damp smell. His eyes watched the chaos of passed times and he tried to get his head around the memories of hundreds of spirits that never followed their troubled owners who left the Estate for good.


Word of thanks: the photo of @glory.of.disrepair (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Mathias!

Link: please visit the beautiful Instagram account of @glory.of.disrepair

Note: the story is pure fiction! A figment of my imagination!

Helen

Friday, August 04, 2017

The Sitter (short story)

Winter. The flames of the fire in the large hearth worked magical shadows on the furs in front of it and on the rich Goblin's that covered the old walls of my room in the castle. Their vibrant colours came to life but I did not notice it that evening. I looked at the portrait of the man in front of me, my paint brush in my hand. The only thing I had to do was signing but I felt reluctant to do so, as if I felt the sitter with the mysterious eyes, not wearing his cuirass today, would disappear to never return.

All of a sudden the man spoke.....
   "My ancestors were Vikings. No farmers or warriors but of high birth. They owned land, forests and large houses, ship yards and boats. Their harbours lay in the shelter of the large Fjords.
Like many generations before them, they sailed to Éire but not before the 12th century. They arrived here in1145 which is almost at the end of the Viking period as you will know."

Here he paused, he did not look at me. His mind was elsewhere, the sound of his deep voice, brown like his hair and  warm peat on a Summer's day, slowly faded in silence. Just as I thought he was not going to speak further, he said:
   "Unnulf, son of Gilss and Unnulf's son Grimolf, were amongst the Vikings that sailed the river Camlin to Longphort in the county Anghaile where they joined an existing settlement. But the hostility they met, even amongst their own people, was not what they expected. They tried to build their own settlement but were not successful; after 10 years they sailed home again. Grimolf how ever had fallen in love with the beautiful Aodhamair who did honour to the meaning of her name: 'fire'. As well her character as her red hair: she stood up against her parents to follow Grimolf to the North where they settled at the estate of Grimolf's ancestors near Oseberg.
It could not have been easy for Aodhamair, she missed the green rolling hills of Éire but learned to love the dark Northern forests and their inhabitants like Giants, Troll's, the Small People that lived underground, the laughing Witches, the screaming Human Birds that all of a sudden appear to scare you with their loud unpleasant raw voices. She loved to tell fairy tales to her children and later in life, her grand children. The Éire's are wonderful storytellers and her blood passed this skill on to further generations.
My mother Freydis, a descendant of Aodhamair, told me in good tradition all the old stories and fairy tales. But not only the Norwegian, also the Celtic. About Unicorns and Elves.
I remember the evenings during long and cold Winters where I rested my head in her lap in front of a roaring fire. Her beautiful voice almost sang the tales; I hardly dared to breath. Her hand laid on top of my head. I was wanted and loved."

The man paused again, his eyes  with the colour of melting glaciers, softened and shone like he had to hold back his tears. This touched my heart which had already opened to him during the long sittings that lay behind us. Then he suddenly looked me straight in my eyes:
   "I felt torn between both fantasy worlds. Or were they real? I could not tell but I longed to return to the roots of Aodhamair. Ten years ago I left my mother and father and sailed to an Éire that was still fighting Cromwell. An Éire that fought to keep it's own identity. As they did during the occupation of my Viking ancestors.

My high birth opened doors and it did not take long before I settled. I listened to and read about the fierce history of Éire, about fairy tales but soon found out, although my Irish blood from centuries ago, I am still a Viking. I miss the Fjords, the forests, the long dark winters."

He rose from his chair, his eyes fixed on me: "Your eyes as green as the rolling hills, your hair like flames."
I only noticed I was still holding my paint brush when he took it from my hand. He pulled the strings of my linen hat to free my hair. He unbuttoned my apron, lifted me in his arms and walked to the hearth.
"Will you follow me? As my Aodhamair?"
My fingers like the wings of the elves, touched his face. And when he finally kissed me I could hear the sound of the waterfall of the glacier, it made my body tremble. His hair mingled with mine, our bodies melted together, reuniting Viking with Celtic......

Autumn. The wind hauls  through the broken windows of the ruined castle covered in bushes and tall trees with flaming red leaves. The crows took over long ago and their harsh voices echo against the crumbling walls. What is left of the tower fights bravely against time, contrasting with the sky that colours like melting ice.


Word of thanks: the portrait of the man is from the collection of Roy and Nadine Precious and inspired me to write this story. Thank you Nadine and Roy for allowing me to use the photo!

Links: the Instagram accounts of Roy and Nadine.
Please visit their website where you will find many other portraits and beautiful antiques.

Note: the story is pure fiction! A figment of my imagination!

Helen

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Bundle 'De Zon' (The Sun) availale in eBook format

On July 15 I wrote on my Dutch Blog 'Helen Varras' about the writing contest of Leessst Publishers.

https://www.bruna.nl/ebook/de-zon-9789491863097All stories - including my 'Brandende Getuige' (Burning Witness) and 'Gemiste Warmte' (Missed Warmth) - are now available in eBook format at Bruna.nl.
And not just my stories of course but also beautiful stories and poems of many other authors. I can only advise you to buy De Zon (note: only available in Dutch!).

Another good reason to buy the eBook (3,95 Euro) is that part of the poceed will go to KWF Cancer Fund.

Even if you manage some of the Dutch language you will not regret you bought it.
The above Bruna Link and clicking the photo will direct you immediately to the purchase website.

I wish you good reading!

Helen

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Chamber Pot (short story)

First of all, my memory is not what it used to be so if I am not accurate in my descriptions, it be so.
Secondly, a chamber pot does not live a life any of you would desire. True, I have seen things others don't see but I can assure you the things I have seen have always been a bit.... uhm... smelly.

If a chamber pot still exists, it would probably be cleaned after every use, but not in my days, oh no. We were on guard the whole night and were only emptied in the mornings.
I should not complain though! Some chamber pots lived in less pleasant environments than I.
My life started in a pottery (how applicable...) together with more pots of my kind and a few very posh pots.
We were the majority because the Estate that placed the order had more servants than family members; not an unusual thing in those days. And long term guests often brought their own pots because they were used to the size. And there are many different sizes to fit a bum!

Did you know that the difference in position already started in the pottery? You are wrong thinking we were all made of the same clay. No, we are made of far less delicate raw materials than our fellow posh pots; we are stoneware and they are porcelain. And it is not only the raw materials, it is also the look: the posh pots are often painted with beautiful flowers and other decorations in soft colours and the common pots are not.
I am happy to be a middle class pot (that is how I think of myself), the lower classes are often brown or greyish white without any decoration. I am also taller than most pots and this is because I served both the Lady's maid and the Coachman which broadened my view on people. And I have stripes. Well, that is enough about me.

Chamber pots in general need to be emptied and cleaned on a daily base but I am not sure this happened to all pots, in that respect I was lucky. It was the duty of the scullery maid to collect the content of all potties in the house. She gathered the contents in large white enamelled buckets with a lid. The poor girl had to walk a lot of stairs with those heavy buckets full of human waste (posh and common mixed) and believe me, the smell was terrible. Due to her other duties the rest of the day, she had to hurry but in the meantime being careful not to fall.... The second scullery girl collected the empty pots to clean them in a special built outhouse.

Servants are known for their gossiping and you can't blame them. There was much to talk about, as well as upstairs as downstairs. The more people the more gossip. But let me tell you that their gossiping was nothing comparing to what we had to tell!! After cleaning we rested upside down on iron racks until we were dry and ready for a new night shift. As soon as the scullery maid left the outhouse, we told each other the stories of the past night. When I first stood there amongst more experienced pots, I tried not to keep up with them in terms of gossiping because I was middle class.
But when I noticed that the posh' and the commons participated and that it was more or less 'daily news' instead of 'backbite' (which is a far more appropriate word for us to use...), I heartily joined the party.

I know you are curious now and want to hear about the affairs of his Lordship or even the chauffeur, or the secrets discussed between the daughter of his Lordship and her Lady's maid. Or the complains of the Butler and the Housekeeper about the lower servants but I am not going to tell you these stories now. Maybe some other time as I will most likely still be here for the next couple of years.

I never thought I would retire, I always thought that if not cracked, I would move on to a younger generation of servants but alas, it did not happen.
Tragical really, that the Coachman was the only one who stayed in the house after the family moved when the British economy changed after the second world war.
Servants moved to industrial and much better paid jobs, agricultural prices went through the roof and farmers wanted a better payment. And that did not change during the 50's and 60's. It was called progress.
In the meantime the Estate was only a shell with on the top floor the rooms of the Coachman who did not dare to move to one of the grand rooms, still loyal to his Lordship and well aware of his own manners which became a habit after so many years of serving.

The Lady's Maid left the Coachman for a, in my opinion, conman who was not only charming but also had a better income and a more modern house than the rooms on the top floor.
Now I only had to serve one bum and the older the bum got, the less clean it was as you will imagine.
I was loyal to this single bum but often felt home sick to the days of gossiping in the outhouse. Life was, to say the least, boring.

Photo: @soul_mining (Instagram)
Photo: @soul_mining (Instgram)
But than the day came that the Coachman never returned from his house inspection, carrying a double-barreled shotgun to chase unwanted visitors. I still don't know what happened to him. He might have fallen down the stairs (in that case he was lucky not to carry me), the animals in the forest might have witnessed his final breath. Or maybe he just walked away, tired of living in a room where several layers of wall paper curl down the damp walls. Tired of watching his own face every day in the mirror on top of the chest of drawers and smelling the perfume - still left in the bottle next to the mirror - of his unfaithful Lady's maid. Or tired of carrying me up and down the stairs which is a risky job when your hands start shaking at the older age.
I don't know and I assume I will never know.

Quentin Crisp once said: "After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse". And he was right.
As well on the subject of dust and the content of me. One day you might find me and even have the courage to clean me and to adopt me. Please don't. Please leave me where I belong; under the bed of a long forgotten Coachman at the floor of long forgotten servants.


Word of thanks: the photo of @soul_mining (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Dan!

Link: please visit the beautiful Instagram account of @soul_mining

Note: the story is (of course) pure fiction!A figment of my imagination!

Helen

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Letter (short story)

 'My Love,

My hands can not hold a pen any more. The red knuckles are swollen like marbles and my fingers grow in the wrong directions.
Do you remember when we were still children with elastic muscles that we crossed our fingers, one over the other? That is how my hands look now. I am glad you can't see this, it would have upset you.
The pink and ring finger are the worst but my fore finger is the best of all and allows me to type a letter to you. It is a slow process as you will understand but you have all the time of the world to read it.

I am in a strange mood. I thought I got used to my solitary existence but strangely enough I didn't. My thoughts often wander off to the old days when we still lived together. Married as in 'happily ever after'.
Have we been happy? Yes. We were childhood lovers, we knew each other so very well, our marriage couldn't go wrong. How wrong we were but let not dwell on this right now.
I still remember our wedding day with all the love and laughters, all the expectations for the future; our future.
We did not have a great income but you were determined to climb the social ladder and I was more than willing to hold that ladder, to support you where ever I could. I promised to do so and I kept my promise. You asked me to support you and that is what I did...... till death did us part.

Do you remember how we loved to curl up on the sofa? Or in bed? We became great lovers and memories of our intimacy still cause that special warm feeling. Or our arms wrapped around each other, talking about our dreams. Your dreams were more demanding than mine. You wanted a family, a job with status and an appropriate  income, a bigger house, being a member of The Lions and the Golf club. And, not to forget, a perfect and elegant, good looking wife to impress your colleagues and friends to be.
My wish list was a family home, children, a house and a garden, hugs and love, a dog. Could I ever dream that the only wish we had in common was children....
Maybe the house too but mine was cosy and big enough for our family. Yours was to impress, pompous and in my humble opinion, horrible.
You were generous and  promised me on forehand a house keeper, a nanny and a gardener. Well, I thought it was generous but I learned otherwise.

You ticked almost all the boxes on your wish list, almost. The children box was never ticked. At first you blamed yourself but soon you blamed me, not openly, I did not even notice it in the beginning. I did not recognize the early signs of mental abuse. I have to admit that you were very, very good at that. I am not going to repeat all the details, you know exactly what you have done to me. But what you did not know was that you forced me to play my own game. I had to to survive, to stay close to me. And when I finally, after so many years, saw through you, I became even better in playing mental games than you.

You never found out did you, that I became the best actress ever and that I only acted like the manipulated wife you created. Created in your mind my love, not in real!
You hated your sudden hair loss, you were so proud of the dark curly hair you inherited from your mother. You had never been ill before so you hated the so called influenza that caused stomach and belly pains and vomiting. Not long after you recovered but within half a year it started all over again. The doctor said you were stressed. The demanding job, the long hours, a holiday would do you good. And it did. A year after, the same thing happened again but you felt worse than ever. Strong as you were, you recovered again. But my love, you were not smart enough to know it wasn't a influenza! And it was not due to stress! Not at all, but I played my game so very well that no one was surprised when you finally died. They spoke beautiful words at your grave. Your business partner mentioned he had never seen a man before who was so dedicated to his work.

And I? I played the grieving widow. And I played it very, very well. I almost believed my own grief, I almost felt the pain for your loss. I played it so well that people never noticed the joy in my heart. The joy about my freedom and most of all the joy because I won the game you started!

Photo: Forgotten Heritage

Did you notice the Crow who watched your funeral? He and I became very good friends. He knows my moods and when my mood is as dark as his deep purple and black feathers, he talks to me. His hoarsely voice causes great fear with people who don't know him but not with me. He waits for me to finish the letter and to take it to your grave. This will also be my goodbye to my feathered friend. I have done what I wanted to do. I have enjoyed my victory long enough and it is time to go.
All that will be left is the two cups with the residue of what ended our lives. They lay next to the type writer and your portrait, guarded by the Crow who will be faithful to me until his own death.
Goodbye my love......'




Word of thanks: the photo of @forgottenheritage (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Matt!

Link: the beautiful book Forgotten Heritage by Matthew Emmett

Note: the story is pure fiction!A figment of my imagination!

Helen

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dance! (short story)

I swivel round and round and round....I hold the imaginary she in my arms: one hand at her lower back (not too low, I would not dare to do so) and the other hand holds hers.
Our feet easily manage the complicated pattern of our dance. And round and round again we go.

I look her in the eyes and drown in their blue depth, like drowning in a deep lake where the water nymphs sing their tempting songs. The music makes us move like one body. Her steps follow mine in a split second, only a careful observer sees the tiny difference. I am an excellent leader and she an excellent charming follower. We are causing little tornados of dust on the wooden floor but we don't care. We are not aware of the room we are in. All we are aware of is the music and the energy that makes us dance if we were born to do so.

You don't know me and you will never know me, that is why I tell you my little story. Please don't go, it will not take long and you might be curious how it ends.
I was born a long long time ago in a tiny little house in the woods. My parents married at a young age but never had children until they were almost middle aged. Mind you that 40 was called middle aged in their days.  I was their first and only child and there fore had a different upbringing than most children.
When you are young parents and you have a few toddlers, you still love them and care for them and protect them against bad things of course but at an older age with only one, my parents were over protective.
They kept me at home, within sight. They taught me reading, writing and numbers but did not allow me to go to school. I did not have friends, no one ever came to our house to play with me. I did not mind, my dog was my best friend, the forest my playground and my parents loved me with all the love they had to give which was more than some children get.

Yes, I was a happy child, very happy.
I know you are not stupid and wondering how I got on being a teenager. It is fairly normal for teenagers - so I am told - to be obstinate and stubborn, teasing their parents who, they think, do everything wrong being extraordinary 'old fashioned'. I am glad to tell you I wasn't such a teenager. "Bless your parents" I hear you say.
But did I ever meet a girl? Did I ever fall in love? Did I ever had a job? No, no and no.
I wasn't even aware of the fact that there were younger editions of the species of my  mother. And when my parents died, not long after each other, they left me in reasonable wealth. They saved every penny, just if they knew I needed it because, and here I am very honest, I was not at all socialized. I would never survive in the normal world.

I did not know about that world until I found literally, a small piece of it in the attic.
A place I wasn't allowed to go, a decision I never questioned.
It took a long time before I opened the door to the attic as I still respected my parents.
I don't know how I found the courage to go there; or maybe it was the knowledge that the whole house was mine, I can't recall.
The fact is, I went there on a sunny afternoon. I did not know what to expect but I certainly never expected an almost empty room with one table and a (as I understood from the little booklet that lay beside it) a gramophone. And a box of records. Good reading and practising (hard to avoid a few scratches) I learned to play the records and to listen to the music. I was astonished, I had never in my live heard something as beautiful as this. I did not even think of how it arrived in our house, where it came from and why I had never heard music before. Yes, the wind in the trees was music but this was so different!
Photo: Darren Nisbett Fine Art Photography
I moved the gramophone downstairs and listened to Leo Reisman and his Orchestra, Cannon's Jug Stompers, Vera Lynn (who became my dream woman and dance companion), Cole Porter and many, many others.
I noticed that I had a good feeling for rhythm and soon my feet lived their own life. They danced with me through the room, made me turn, swivel, jump and something that must have looked like the Charleston as
my feet went crazy!

I danced, danced and danced every day, every month and every year. I danced from the 40's into the 50's. At first I danced alone but than came she. I danced right through life into death. And even now I still dance and the music still playes.
And you my dear visitor, if you listen very carefully and beyond the dusty silence of my long abandoned house, might even hear the music. Might even here me calling "Dance!!!"

Helen


Word of thanks: the photo of @darrennisbett (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Darren!

Link: the beautiful website Darren Nisbett Fine Art Photography

Note: the story is pure fiction!A figment of my imagination!