Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cheesecake Before Bedtime

It is nearly midnight and I am packing the dishwasher in the Paddington kitchen I grew up in, rinsing the glasses before stacking them in. The glasses have held juice and the orange pulp floats in the water.

Suddenly the little window above the sink lights up and I raise myself up on tip-toes to see what's out there. A truck has pulled up in the lane way and its rear lights illuminate the back yard as it begins to reverse into the drive. 

Distracted, I look back to the sink and find it overflowing. The pulp has clogged the drain and water is spilling over the linoleum countertop. I turn off the faucet and try to unblock it, my hand blindly feeling around in the murky dishwater where more fragile glasses hidden from view clink together dangerously. At least the water level has stopped rising and I try to mop up the water which has spilled over with a sponge but I can't contain it. A trickle is leaking towards the corner where an electrical socket is overloaded with plugs.

I hurry to try and mop it up, its the best I can do before I am drawn back to the window. The truck has almost finished reversing. I leave the sink and run from the kitchen, finding my way upstairs in the darkness to the bedroom where a body lies sleeping in my parent's bed. 

She stirs as I enter the moonlit room. "There's a truck," I tell her, hoping she will wake up, "backing into our driveway." It has the desired effect. She sits up, now alert, and we listen together, hoping it is just a delivery that someone will leave at the door, but they knock. 

My mother puts on her dressing gown and runs her hands through her hair quickly. She steals a look at me and then we descend the stairs together. I have the keys in my hand. I know the back door is not locked. 

When we enter the kitchen there is a large cut out of a new car propped up near the door. My heart lifts for a moment, thinking we are about to be given some absurdly good news, that we are the winners in a competition, but I know better and when I see the three men standing behind it wearing plastic face masks. my worst fears are confirmed. 

My one advantage is that they don't know the door is unlocked. I know what I have to do and my heart quickens as I cross to the door, keys in hand, exposing myself to them through the glass. I will turn the key in the lock as if i am unlocking it and then step away, hoping they don't just shoot me through the glass.

Then what? A glass door, locked or otherwise does not give us much of an advantage. Mum and I will have to run for it before they come after us. 

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