The three sisters and me

So young. So full of dreams.
Recently, I suffered a tragedy. I was sitting on my sofa after lunch one Sunday, idly browsing on my laptop with the bright late-summer sun streaming through my fourth-floor windows. Here, up high like this, I get the sunshine in big dazzling floods right from the dawn chorus. It was a beautiful day. Suddenly and without warning an enormous gale-force gust of wind ripped through the air and whisked my windowbox off the windowsill and all the way down to smash on the tarmac below.
I leapt to the window with a forlorn wail. I looked down. A scattered heap of compost, basil leaves and bits of ‘shrub-green’ plastic, and in between the strewn debris, all my beautiful not-yet-ripe tomatoes, split open like tiny burst balloons. But that was not the worst part. The worst part was when I ran down the stairs and at the bottom, to greet me, were the Schlössers.
The Schlössers are three sisters who live in and own my building, and are so old they trail dust behind them as they walk. The eldest Schlösser probably remembers the days when this block of flats was just a beaverskin yurt. They seem to spend an inordinate amount of time drifting around together in a sort of pastel-coloured shoal, talking in quiet voices and going in and out of each others’ apartments; the main flat on the ground floor is evidently their headquarters, as I always seem to catch them going inside and closing the door whilst fixing their narrowed eyes on me as it creaks shut. To protect them from the constant and palpable danger that surrounds, the main flat is fortified like a Viking defense turret: every evening at sunset a set of mechanised steel shutters grind closed over the windows and the front door has one of those slide-open barred spyholes like in a jail, so that when you pop by to pick up a parcel they can crack it open and glare at you once again with those suspicious little peepers. 

IIt’s a bit like living among the enchanted paintings in Hogwarts. You think you are alone in the stairway only to suddenly notice a faded ancient figure poised behind you,  going ‘I hope you remembered to lock that gate…’. And so, there I was stood in front of the wreckage of my windowbox, whimpering quietly, when I noticed the Schlössers hovering behind me, tutting in dismay. ‘Junge Dame, that could have KILLED SOMEONE!!’ I nodded sadly. ‘You will of course clean it up immediately.’ I nod again. ‘And you will never EVER place a windowbox on the sills of our building again.’ My heart fractured a little bit. At this point one of the other sisters looks at the heap and goes, ‘Tomatoes, hm? Shame,’ in a tone that suggests she feels nothing but disgust at the very idea of tomatoes. And then I started scooping up handfuls of basil shreds and soil as the Schlössers walked back to their fortress. And then the clouds opened and suddenly I had become a soaking wet idiot ferrying shovelfuls of mixed herbs and mud around in an apartment-block courtyard. 
The next day I found a beautiful hand-written letter in my postbox from the Schlössers confirming that I was now forbidden from ever growing anything on my windowsill and that another letter detailing this and my heinous crime had been sent to the landlords.
Ever since, the Schlössers have been watching me extra-carefully. The other day I came through the massive heavy gates at the front of our building and they decended on me like a pack of albino ravens falling upon a dead rat in a graveyard. ‘WHY DIDN’T YOU LOCK THE GATE!?’ ‘?…because it wasn’t locked before I’m sorry I’m so so sorry,’ I whimpered. ‘If you leave the gate open the drunk men come in here and piss everywhere!!’ Pastel coloured cardigans twitched with rage. 
There’s no moral to this post. Just as there’s nothing to be done about the silver-haired gestapo who patrol our stairwell. We all live in fear. Watching for narrowed eyes peeping through the net curtains.

Rose T

Jill of all trades: writer, illustrator, designer, editor, web designer, craft maniac

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