Behind the Lace Curtains
What goes on behind the lace curtains of the houses in the Victorian terrace? They are set on a deep incline, and if you peak out through the lace curtains you can see people tiredly lurching forward on their way home.
At number four Ragland Lane is Rosemary. She lives alone, as does the young girl next door, and Miss Elly who is eighty and lives two houses down. The young girl next door only has time for a sweet superficial nod in greeting, although Rosemary went round and welcomed her when she moved in, although Rosemary writes to her daughters weekly saying, “I saw Trisha today, she’s a very nice girl”.
Miss Elly is eighty but she is healthy and cooks herself a fine meal every day. “The key to good health,” she promises. Rosemary cooks for herself each day as well, but it all seems such an effort for only one.
Rosemary works part time as a tour guide for the open top buses who shuttle tourists around town. She ends each sentence with a giggle and people enjoy the fluffy bits of information she adds to her spiel.
Other people on the street must watch her daily on her return from work, struggling with the hill. Sometimes she breaks the climb to visit Miss Elly and see that she is all right. Rosemary’s big fear is being ill and dying and it being days before anyone finds her.
When her daughters come to visit, which is not often, for they live in another country, she tells them of the goings on in Ragland lane. The new couple who moved in over the road, who for a long time didn’t have curtains. “It didn’t leave much to the imagination.”
It is a cold winter that year and Rosemary longs for some warmth. The cold is wearing her out. The grey clouds feel as though they are looming down on her. It has not been a good winter at all. Her doctor has found cancer in her nose and in her breast and her children are coming to be with her for her mastectomy. She is afraid and wishes they would stay with her forever, but she won’t make that kind of demand on them. The radiation she had on her nose makes her feel ugly.
“Everything is ugly,” she says. “The garden is ugly, the fried eggs I made are ugly, age is ugly, I am ugly.”
Her daughters leave after the mastectomy. Rosemary is brave and amazingly calm and wishes them a good summer. Every day, feeling ill from chemotherapy, she stares out of the window.
People are so familiar to her. She feels like she knows them. Why then do they not drop by and see if she needs anything? She doesn’t work anymore, but tries to get out once a day. Has no one noticed how weak she has become climbing that hill? Even Miss Elly, she has never come to Rosemary’s door to see how she is doing.
Rosemary’s chemo wipes her out and she is rushed to hospital. An ambulance is a big deal in a little street such as Ragland Lane. Still, on her return from hospital no one welcomes her home.
Rosemary looks forward to the end of chemo and to feeling better again, but she doesn’t feel better and the doctor now tells her the cancer is in her bones. She sounds up beat on the phone when she tells her daughters, but in her solitude she feels as though she has been punched in the stomach. She is young. She was planning a trip to see her girls, and now this. She looks around the living room. She looks out the lace curtains and resolves that she will move house.
“I have grown to hate this house and this street”, she says, “nobody cares about any one,” she finishes this statement silently in her head, “I will not die in this horrid street.”
The doctor tells the daughters their mother only has a few weeks left, that it would be silly that she moves, but they know she must. She has grown desperately unhappy with Ragland Lane. She can stand it no longer.
Number four stands empty. No one came to wish her well. The lace curtains are down. The house is a deserted, hollow shell. Void. Nothing. It serves only to support the houses on either side of it, and the same people take on the hill every evening after work.
Only the girl in the grocery store knows when Rosemary dies. She read it in the paper and went to the funeral, with no invitation, only to pay her respects. She told Rosemary’s daughters that Rosemary was their favorite customer, always smiling, always interested.
What goes on behind the lace curtains in the houses on the Victorian terrace – nobody really cares.
Published on writebuzz®:
> Stories & Scripts