Serialised from Curmudgeon Avenue : The Terraced House Diaries (Curmudgeon Avenue Book 1)
Chapter 3: Return to Curmudgeon Avenue
They had always known this would happen. A few short months after their parents were taken too soon in their mid-nineties, by an elephant, Edna and Edith found themselves living together in their parent’s house, returning to the very same rooms they had occupied as youngsters. Their childhood home, number one Curmudgeon Avenue. Known locally as a sanctuary for grumpy geriatrics. They always knew this would happen… right from the old days, when they were children. Edith had tripped Edna up, accidentally on purpose with her roller skates. Edna’s breakfast of chocolate yoghurt (the colour of poo), one hardboiled egg and burnt toast with blackcurrant jam flew into the air followed by the smell of sulphur and acrylamide. Edith had hidden in the under-the-stairs cupboard wishing that her older sister would be just a little more pleasant. She waited there in her hiding place listening to the heavy footsteps of Edna leaving the house for Art College. She was wishing her sister dead, yet somehow knew that they would be paired together again, one day in the future.
They had both secretly acknowledged that they would end up back here, when all else had failed, died, or run away, returning together in their parent’s Victorian terrace. They did not plan this, but then – who would?
‘Edith!’ Edna shouted her sister from the second-floor loft conversion where she lorded over the world.
‘Yes,’ Edith answered, with no intention of being heard in the under-the-stairs cupboard. Edna knew exactly where her sister was, and continued to shout her.
‘Edith! Fetch me that Agatha Christie I’m part way through won’t you? Oh, and make me a cup of tea. Strong with plenty of milk’…
‘And two and a half sugars’ Edith echoed her sister. She crawled out of her hiding place, put the kettle on and searched for Edna’s novel from amongst the pile of newspapers. By the time she had climbed both flights of steep stairs and knocked on Edna’s shut door – (how rude!), the heavens had opened supplying another August heavy shower.
‘Edna! I’ve made you a cup of tea, but I can’t find that book you wanted!’
‘Well, go and have another look then!’ Edna bossed from the other side of the door.
‘No! Two flights of stairs, Edna!’
‘I know, Edith, I thought you would have lost a bit of weight after two weeks of living back here!’ Edna insulted Edith, who rattled the door open. There was a bucket behind it, and one set on a table on the other side of the room. Water trickled out of the light fittings and bounced off the bottom. Edith’s nose pointed up to the ceiling, her mouth now shaped into a visible ‘O’.
‘The roof is leaking!’ She said.
‘I know!’ Replied Edna. ‘I haven’t been able to start any of my nude self-portraits’ Edna opened another chocolate bar, and Edith ignored her artistic reference.
‘Well, what are we going to do?’
‘Oh for goodness sake Edith, grow up! You will have to get a roofer in’
‘Me? Why do I have to do it?’
‘Look it’s not a problem, Edith, you just look in the Yellow Pages, ring one of them, and ask for a quote. It’s quite simple’ Edna had skills in getting other people to do things for her.
‘Well if it’s so simple, why don’t you do it?’ Edith’s décolletage had become mottled pink with vexation, she clutched the neckline of her floral blouse.
‘Edith,’ Edna said, sitting forwards on her bean bag in a patronising position. ‘Your bedroom is nearest to the downstairs telephone. We both know that Mother and Father should have seen to this roof before they decided to die, but the responsibility for the house has now fallen to me, and I am delegating to you to find us a roofer!’
And with that, Edith ran downstairs as fast as her little legs could carry her to the under-the-stairs cupboard. She lit one of her relaxation candles and breathed in deeply. On her next exhale, she opened her wee eyes and saw the telephone directory. Who still uses the Yellow Pages? Edith thought.
Happy reading, Samantha xx