Have you ever wondered how others see you? Perhaps it’s not quite how you think.
Most people in the road thought the lady at number 69 was a nasty old trout. After her dog had frightened him off for the third time the postman refused to deliver to the address, so we occasionally saw her at the sorting office collecting her mail. When a cat was shot at she was the primary suspect, especially when an air pistol was found in the overgrown alley running at the rear of her house.
It was a close knit community and people looked out for each other. Preparations were going full steam for the village centenary party to be held on Halloween. The committee had distributed flyers and asked everyone to contribute food for all to enjoy.
To their surprise No 69 replied indicating she would be supplying a large pot of her special stew, enough to feed about 50 people. She would not be able to attend personally but would leave it outside her door for collection at 7 p.m. on the evening of the party.
It was a great success until half the village went down with food poisoning a few days later and naturally the blame turned to number 69. The fact that the stew had been left in a large witches’ cauldron did little to divert the blame.
From then on she was ostracised; yobs threw bricks to break her windows and a petition was set up to drive her out of the village. Despite the results of an investigation being published two months later showing the source of the problem was the chicken supplied by the local butcher, the animosity remained.
Number 69 was no longer seen in the village and her mail remained uncollected. It was not until the spring, when windows were left open and it started to get warm that neighbours began to complain about the smell.
Eventually the police were obliged to break in and found the lady, still sitting in her wheelchair with the skeleton of her dog stretched out to lick her hand. The diary at her side showed the last entry at midnight on New Year’s eve, and as it appeared to have been written up daily it was assumed that was when she died.
Earlier entries revealed her desire to be accepted into the community despite the MS which had made her infrequent trips to the Post Office such a trial. She had hoped that her Mother’s delicious special stew recipe would prove a success, and that it would instigate visits from her neighbours when she was unable to leave the house, but it had not turned out that way.
When the truth was revealed the whole village turned out for her funeral. Too little, too late.
© Voinks August 2016