As if she’s walked straight out of a 70’s brochure. The stench of her perfume will linger long after she’s gone, it’s clawing its way into my nostrils. Her hair doesn’t dare to move, it’s frozen on the spot, thousands of strands intimidated by hairspray.
“Hi.” I greet her and smile, but that is more because Enraged Enrique is by her side. He’s probably rang her.
Word goes that the gypsies have tried to enter the house she has inherited from her uncle. She doesn’t live in the village, she lives in the city. She’s got a piece of land, the house and a shed here.
She’s put the house on the market for an extortionate price.There haven’t been many viewers. This could have something to do with the fact that I scowl at strangers coming into the village and when they ask if there are any houses for sale my answer is always no.
The house itself is slowly but steadily disappearing under a thick layer of brambles, climbing the stairs, hanging around on the balustrade. Brambles give me hope, the promise of nature to return everything to its former state.
“Just a quick something.” I say to her. She looks startled, her face muscles obey reluctantly to the order her brain must have given them; her mouth curls up somewhat.
“It’s about the big shrub which is growing out of your shed at the lane.” I gesture behind my house. “There are lots of wasps and bees living in it, as well as hornets, they keep entering my house. It needs cutting down.”
She quickly glances at Enraged Enrique, who remains expressionless. “Well that’s fine. You have my permission to go and cut it down.” She throws what seems like an actual smile in for good measure at the end.
“I’m not going to cut it down,” I tell her, “It’s your responsibility, you do it.”
Her smile would have disappeared in thin air if it wasn’t thick with her perfume.
The corners of her mouth are now pointing downwards, seemingly dragging her cheeks with them. “You really think I am going to do it? I’ll pay someone to do it. And I would like to know who entered my shed. Because that door is open.”
She’s accusing me. “Oh come off it. That was the wind!” I reply. How ironic to be accused. Whenever I’ve seen anyone hovering near that shed I’ve told them to go away. On occasions when gypsies came looking for scrap metal I’ve told them not to touch it. I’ve seen it slowly but steadily caving in from my house over the years. A year or two ago I heard a huge rumble after rain, indicating that the beams finally had given way. “Besides, it’s half fallen down. You’re lucky it didn’t fall on the lane, or god forbid on one of the kids.”
The expression on her face is now blank, or maybe cold, but I don’t care anyway.
Enraged Enrique helps her to put some padlocks on the doors of the house.
Later that day, after she’s left, Villager J claims it was definitely the gypsies, as another neighbour had seen them with a white van and that scum will take anything. I shrug my shoulders and reply that there is plenty of Spanish scum around too.
They’re just not always easy to recognise.