At last Sylvia had been able to leave her old life behind her and found work in another town. She had got away from her husband Jeff. He was lazy, drank too much and now and again lost his temper with Sylvia. She was a qualified nurse and had a well paid job, but decided that enough was enough. The evenings when she came home from work to find the floor littered with empty bottles and her husband lying around in the house hardly able to see straight were enough. When she told him to pull himself together, he did, but combined it with an attack on his wife. She had tried until she had no longer patience with him. Eventually she packed her case and left. She took the train West and decided that it was time to turn her back on life as she had known it.
In a way she was sorry to leave their house. It stood on its own in a suburb of the town; a white wooden house, looking neat and tidy from the outside. Sylvia thought that in her life everything was neat and tidy on the outside; only on the inside things were not so good. In her luggage she had a photo of the house standing in its beautiful surroundings. The sky was showing itself from its best side in summer. The clouds were just wisps reflecting the sun in colours of red and gold. When she and Jeff found the house they were so happy. At least she thought Jeff was happy. They were newly weds and life was beginning for them both. The sunny side of life only existed for a few months and then Jeff started to drink heavily. That was what she thought, but she eventually realised that Jeff had been able to hide the drinking from her when they met. Living with him constantly showed his true character. He worked in an advertising company. His life seemed to be filled with lunches and evening meals with customers, that was more liquid than solid. Many were during the evening and Jeff would arrive home late. In the beginning Syvia would wait for him, but she soon realised it was not worth it. She was glad when she could work nights, when she arrived home in the morning and Jeff was sleeping out his alcoholic dreams, she did not have to be confronted with his moods.
She arrived in her new surroundings and took a hotel room to begin with. The next step was to apply at the local hospital for a job.
“Good morning” said the receptionist at the hospital “can I help you”.
“I am new in town and am a qualified nurse. I have my documents here and was wondering if you would have a job for me in the hospital.”
The receptionist took the documents and told Sylvia to wait whilst she spoke with the manager of the hospital. She came back to Sylvia accompanied by an older man who introduced himself as Dr. Smith.
“I hear you would like to have a job at our hospital. We really do need qualified personnel at the moment and with your documents there is no problem. Just take some time and fill out the application forms please.”
Sylvia was pleased. She was in a new town and had found work and was ready for a new beginning. She told the hospital she could start working straight away and the following week she was employed. She looked around in the town for somewhere to live and found a small house just ideal for her. This time it was not white but red. She had had really enough of living in a white house and had only bad memories. She had put all her furniture into storage where she lived before and called the moving people to deliver at her new address. She still owned the old white house but thought one day she would sell it. At the present she was earning enough money to be able to pay rent for her new house, so did not have to hurry.
In a way she hung onto her old house and had taken a photo with her showing it on one of its best days. It was surrounded by the most wonderful green bushes and trees and she missed the surroundings just a little bit. If only Jeff had been more caring, this would not have happened and she would have stayed. She bought a frame for the photo of the house and garden and put it on the cupboard in the living room; just a little something to remember her old life.
Her first evening in the new red house was accompanied by a storm. It rained as if the heavens had opened and there were crashes of thunder resounding through the house. One clap of thunder was so loud that she heard the window spring open downstairs in the living room. She decided that it would be sensible to close the window otherwise she envisioned everything being wet in the morning. When she entered the living room she noticed that the wind coming through the window had swept her photo to the floor. She picked it up and put it back on the cupboard and went back to bed. In the morning she had a look around to see that nothing more had happened and found the photo again on the floor. As she picked it up and looked at it, it seemed a little bit different but did not realise what was different. She went to work during the day and forgot about the photo.
Sylvia was now really satisfied. She had a new home in a new town and a new job. She had got to know a lot of new people at the hospital and decided to invite some of her colleagues home in the evening for a drink and a meal.
“You have a very nice place here” said Christine, one of her fellow nurses.
“I just love your taste in furniture” joined in Marion “and I just love that photo of that old white house.”
“That is where I used to live” answered Sylvia.
“Why on earth did you leave such a beautiful place” added Christine “It seems that you had quite an interest in gardening.”
“Why gardening?” asked Sylvia
“When I look at the garden at the side of the house it seems you were preparing to plant a tree or something. There is fresh earth showing on the photo just under the window.”
Sylvia had a closer look at the photo and there was really a patch of fresh earth to be seen.
She decided to change the subject and served the meal. It was a successful evening and they enjoyed their selves very much and left around midnight. Sylvia cleared away the dining room table and when everything was in its place she had another look at the photo.
“I don’t remember seeing that earth on the photo yesterday” she thought, but was so tired she soon went to bed and forgot about the photo.
The next day she did not have to work and decided to use it for cleaning her home. She again looked at the photo, but noticed that there was now a hole dug under the window and a pile of earth next to the hole. Sylvia was just a little bit disturbed by the photo. It really seemed it was changing all the time.
Imagine the shock she had when she looked at the photo a week later. There was no pile of earth under the window and no hole in the ground. Everything was nicely levelled and grass was growing where the earth was. There was just something a bit strange in the middle of the photo. It seemed that a single flower was growing out of the place where the pile of earth was. She looked at it closer and was a little bit worried.
Sylvia decided to take a week off work. She told the people in the hospital that she had decided to sell her house in the town where she used to live and would need some time to tie up the dealings. She needed at least two days by car, but soon arrived at her old house. A lot of bad memories came back to her as she walked round the house. She had never forgiven Jeff for the way he had treated her. The old white house looked exactly as it was on the photo and even the sky was showing itself from its best side. She arrived at the window where the photo had been playing tricks on her and had a close look at the earth below. Everything seemed normal. There was no earth disturbed, and the lawn was in one piece. There was even no strange flower growing where she had seen it on the photo.
She got down on her knees to take a closer look.
“Looking for something Miss,” said a voice behind her“ and before she could turn round to see who it was she felt steel bracelets being put on her wrists.
“By the power given to me by this State I am arresting you for the murder of your husband Jeff ……” and Sylvia found herself surrounded by police. “We found his body yesterday. One of the neighbours dogs kept sniffing around and his hand was sticking through the earth” the police said, so we decided to keep an eye on the place. It seemed he didn’t want to stay where you put him and one hand was showing through the earth.”
Pictures to Words - Segments: Week 4: The old white house