Iceberg roses

In blogopera on May 3, 2011 at 1:57 am

Victoria had never expected to be that neighbour, the one they watched, the one they all talked about. She had not expected it, but she didn’t not enjoy it.

They didn’t talk a lot of course, this wasn’t the set of Neighbours, but curtains twitched and gardens got watered whenever she came home.

She left the car halfway down the driveway, and some afternoons she forgot to check the mail. She left the porch light on all night, and then through the day as well. The kids played in the front, the gate unlatched, and when people walked past their dogs on loeads, she said, ‘It’s rude to stare, but ruder still if you never say Hello.’ She let them pat these strangers’ dogs and she didn’t once say, ‘Now go and wash your hands.’

She still drew the curtains before it got dark, and when she went to bed she double-checked the doors.

On Saturday morning she said to the kids, ‘We’ve got to get rid of the heritage green’ so she painted the front door red, and the letterbox mango yellow. The roof would have to wait and so would the window frames, but she pulled out the Christmas lights, strung them around the verandah and laughed when they didn’t work. ‘Bloody lights,’ she said then said it again til one of the kids said, ‘Mum! You swore.’

She left a pile of things on the curb with a hand-written sign that said, PLEASE TAKE. FREE and she put new things on the pile every night that week. Of all the things – books, microwave, Christmas lights – the only thing that didn’t go was a bag of rusty coathangers. On Thursday after dinner, she ripped out the icerberg roses and added them to the pile. By midnight, they were gone.

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