Today, I am so sleepy, my eyes are tired, and I feel ravenous; and it is all down to a knock at the door. Last night, I had just gone to bed with my book (Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith) and dear Carl was having his nightly potter as he switches things off, locks the door and so on, when the buzzers to the front door to our little set of flats starting sounding. Because we are on the ground floor, when someone buzzes any of the flats, we still hear it. It sounded like someone was buzzing every flat in turn, and I was just about to go and investigate when it stopped. Suddenly, our doorbell started to ring, dingdongdingdongdingdong.
Carl answered it, as I was still tucked up warm, and I heard such a commotion. It was the sound of a man, shouting, panting, running. He burst into our flat, and told Carl that there were men outside trying to ‘beat him up’. I got up and put my dressing gown on, but Carl made me stay in the bedroom. He came to tell me what was going on and to give me a hug. There was a car full of men revving up their engine in our car park, apparently waiting for this man, who had ran away on the rail tracks that run to the back of our flat, climbed over the fence and ran to the first door he could find. Carl told him to phone the police, but he would not. He phoned his girlfriend, who he thought had set these men upon him. He phoned his brother, and his father. None of them wanted to help him. He phoned his mother, who sent his father to collect him in his car. I was so glad when he went away.
It was nearly midnight by the time we got to be after this happening, and we lay there, very close to each other, shaken by what had happened. We may live very sheltered lives, but we just don’t live in a world where people go round ‘beating each other up’. I really felt like this man had brought danger into our little flat. This is our home; there is peppermint and nutmeg spray for the pillows; a phone pad with a border of pretty primulas; lavender scented handcream; tiny cake forks to rest on your plate. This was all so alien to the little world we have built. I would not ever want to turn away someone in danger, but I would much rather that trouble did not come knocking on our door again any time soon.
A long time ago, I was reading several posts on a similar theme: comfort, security, and the home. Alicia at www.rosylittlethings.typepad.com mentioned an article that said the trend (pah, trend!) for vintage things after September 11th was a reaction against danger, a nesting and comforting process. Alison at www.brocantehome.typepad.com wrote a beautiful post, in which she said that we make our homes havens for those we love; we may not be able to stop the wars and danger out there, but we can make our loved ones feel safe and secure, and shut out the troubles as we close our front doors.