by Gary Duncan
It sits, and waits for her. Quiet except for the odd gurgle and creak and rumble as it settles down for the day.
She just left, and won’t be back for hours. It can still hear her footsteps on the garden path, the clank of the metal gate.
She’s new, this one. They haven’t got to know each other yet, not properly, but it likes her.
Not like the last lot. The noise they made, the mess. Then nothing, after they moved out, and that was almost as bad as having them around. Those long days of nothing.
It likes to watch her. It watches her all the time, when she’s sleeping, when she’s in the shower, when she’s sitting in the armchair by the window, thinking, looking out.
It thinks she might be lonely. She doesn’t seem to have many friends. An older woman came round, when she first moved in, but just the once. It thinks the older woman might have been her mother, but it’s not sure. And there was that guy, the guy with the overnight bag. Came prepared, but didn’t stay long either. They’d argued and he left, just like that, halfway through the pizza they’d ordered. Took his bag with him and almost kicked a hole in the door on his way out.
She didn’t cry, not till he was gone, and then it watched her sob and heave and later, much later, fall asleep on the sofa.
But it knows she’s going to be okay. Next morning it watched her shower and make breakfast, humming a happy song to herself as she got ready for work.
Yes, it thinks, she’s going to be okay. We’re both going to be okay.
It settles down, and listens to its own familiar rhythms, its gurgling pipes and creaking joists. It waits, and knows it’s nothing without her, nothing but bricks and mortar.
Gary Duncan is a freelance writer and editor based in Northumberland.