Say Goodbye to Macy
by B. C. Bamber
part 1 of 2
The low winter sun entered his windscreen, blinding him a little. It didn’t panic him at all; he just raised his arm as he turned into the road which would take him to his next visit.
Bristol had a reputation for being a little rough. But it has plenty of nice areas, with beautiful architecture and wide open spaces, right in the city centre. This house was in Fishponds in Bristol, and Simon liked coming here.
Each house was large, built with dark brickwork, almost slate-coloured. Large living spaces, high ceilings, nice parks nearby. Wide open roads made it easy to travel around, and the little brook which runs along the park made it near-perfect.
On his mind was a strange dream he’d had last night. It was particularly vivid, and given that he didn’t normally remember his dreams, it stuck in his mind. He was standing outside a building. One of those old sixties government buildings, synonymous with rotten boroughs and bad architecture. It was a dark red brick building, with a strip of small windows along the outside.
Next to the front door was an old weathered plaque which said ‘St. Kilda’s Children’s Home. Opened in 1971’. The next image he saw, he was inside the building, in a waiting room. It had a dark interior, with parquet flooring and a long sliding glass door stretched across the room, making the room very narrow.
As he waited, a young girl burst into the room with flurry of activity and noise. She was about nine years old, with long black hair and dark eyes. She rushed towards him and threw herself on his lap and said, ‘Will you adopt me?’
Before he could answer, a nurse came and shooed her away.
This was Simon’s last visit of the day. As he turned into the road, he looked up at the building at the end on the corner, straddling the main road and this little cul-de-sac. A spark of familiarity passed through his mind. Not wanting to be too distracted he realised that this building with its dark red brickwork and sixties architecture was pretty much identical to the one in his dream. He leant over and looked at it as best he could, not wanting to take his eyes off the road for too long, before continuing to his client’s house.
It was a strange feeling, seeing the building in his dream appear in front of him. He wasn’t too spooked; he was just interested to know whether the building really was a children’s home. Just for fun. Just to see whether it was possible to see the future in a dream.
He knew he’d never been here before. He was sure of that. But was the building he’d now passed just a standard design? Were there lots of them dotted around the country, which all had a similar look? He suspected that was the truth of it.
He smiled to himself as he continued towards Mrs Edmunds’ house, his next appointment. As he walked in with his equipment and his briefcase, the heat in the house hit him. Whoa! he thought as he walked in.
‘You may find it a little hot, Mr Weller,’ she said. ‘I’m old, you see. I feel the cold.’
‘Don’t worry, Mrs Edmunds. Now then, let’s get started, shall we?’ They sat down opposite each other, and Simon got to work asking questions and testing her hearing with all kinds of different methods and equipment. After an hour or so he made his recommendations and told her the price.
She looked at the leaflets he put in front of her and thought quietly for a second, as Simon waited anxiously to find out whether he’d made a sale or not. She agreed to the lower-priced hearing aid, and he made the moulds. As he left he stood at the door and shook her hand. ‘I will see you in a couple of weeks,’ he said.
‘Okay. Thank you.’ She went to close the door, before he turned back.
‘Oh. I was meaning to ask you. What is the building at the end of the street used for?’
‘That is a children’s home,’ she said.
‘Oh, is it? Okay. Thank you,’ he replied politely. He went back to his car, stopping briefly outside the home. He parked up and got out, leaving the engine running and the door open. He found the sign and sure enough it was almost exactly the same, except it didn’t have a date on it. ‘Near enough’, he said to himself out loud. He then set off home. He struggled to take his mind off it for a while afterwards. It was weird.
He arrived at his house and clicked the car doors shut with a flash of the indicators and the clunk of the central locking. He turned the key in his front door and walked into a cold empty house.
He was twenty-five and had never really felt like settling down with any of the girlfriends he’d had over the years. He had no real reason for not finding someone, he thought as he hung his coat up and off-loaded the uncomfortable suit he had to wear every day. He flicked on the television and put his feet up, thinking about getting some food. He had a range of pre-prepared food he’d got into, not really bothered about learning how to cook.
His slim muscular body reassured him that he didn’t have to try too hard to look after himself. After all he’d played football and cycled every weekend for as long as he could remember. He lifted himself out of his chair and went off to find the temperature gage to turn the heating up. He had one of those tightly insulated new homes and so it didn’t take long to heat the house. It was nine before he sat down to eat, his appetite not up to much these days.
He finally took himself off to bed at ten-thirty, feeling a little lonely and deflated. He lay down on his side and just stared into the darkness as the radio played dance music. He lifted up the remote control and switched it off, turning on a CD he’d put in last night. He pressed Play and then settled down again, quickly drifting off to sleep. His last thought was his dream.
He woke up early and lifted himself reluctantly from the bed and switched on the radio while he got ready. Eventually he climbed down the stairs and made himself a drink before checking his diary. He had an appointment in Bristol again at eleven, which gave him a spare couple of hours, but nowhere near the children’s home.
He felt a little relieved that he would not be tempted to drop in, attempting to hold on to common sense. After all he didn’t believe in that kind of thing. He was an atheist. He didn’t believe in anything supernatural at all. He thought about all this while he made himself some toast and just stared at it, as the butter melted.
Was he depressed, he asked himself? He switched on the computer and opened up the browser. It quickly opened up the search page and he entered ‘dreams’ into the search box. A dream website appeared on the list and he clicked it. He then typed ‘premonitions’ in the search box. It told him that a premonition could be just a coincidence. It didn’t really help him much. He felt more than a little puzzled.
The following week he needed to return to see Mrs Edmunds for her fitting. As soon as his sales agent had emailed him about it, he began to think about whether he would drop in to the home and look at the interior, just to see it. Just to answer his nagging questions.
Nervous and unsure of where this was heading, he carried out his appointment first despite having time to spare. He chose to remain in his car instead and pass the time there, listening to the radio.
Eventually he slowly moved the car fifty yards up the street to the car park and rested in the space nearest the exit. He looked at it again from the car over his shoulder, then turned off the ignition, before climbing out and strolling confidently over to the door. He looked for a knocker, a bell or anything to use to get attention before noticing a gap in the door, which indicated that the door was usually kept slightly ajar. He pushed it and walked through to a glass interior door with a bell, which he pressed. The hall had a tiled floor and a smell similar to a church or an old private school. A woman came to the door and opened it slightly.
‘Yes,’ she said cautiously.
‘I would like to see the matron if that’s possible,’ he said, unsure about what the correct job title would be.
‘We don’t have matrons. Our manager will see you, though. What’s it about?’ she asked.
Simon knew if he answered this question wrong he wouldn’t get inside to see the interior, and he might never know about his dream. ‘I am an audiologist. I believe you have a someone here who may need a hearing aid.’ He lied, hoping she would not ask for a name.
‘Okay. Can I see some ID?’ Simon reached inside his pocket and pulled out his company ID, with his photo on it. He passed it through the gap in the door, which she now opened more fully, feeling a little more reassured. He stepped inside, prompted by her moving backwards to make space for him.
She indicated a waiting area. ‘Someone will be with you shortly.’ She didn’t ask for a name and he walked through the open door into a room with dark wood panelling on the walls, and parquet flooring. He sat down in a green chair with stains on it. In front of him was a set of glass doors, which stretched across the space, just like his dream.
He wiped a little sweat from his brow, the sun creeping in through the slim windows at the top of the wall behind him. Then without warning a little girl of about eight swung open the doors and ran into the room, straight towards him and hitting him in the crotch with her hands.
Feeling immediately uncomfortable, he gently moved her hands away and said, ‘Careful little one,’ and smiled at her. She had huge brown eyes, long jet black hair, a little dishevelled with a scruffy green summer dress, the same colour as the cushions on the chairs. She looked the same as the girl in the dream and this made him feel a little stressed-out and dizzy.
‘What’s your name?’ she said.
‘Simon. What’s yours?’ he asked her, before she was pulled away by the arm by a young girl, not much older than sixteen.
‘Come on, Macy. Leave the nice man alone.’ The nurse turned to him, just before she disappeared behind the glass doors, ‘I’m sorry sir. The manager will be with you soon.’
The manager arrived a second later and stood in the doorway looking annoyed.
‘Yes, mister...?’ she let the word hang in the air expecting him to say his name and finish her sentence for her.
‘Weller,’ he stood up and shook her hand.
‘I’m Sandra Cartright, the manager here. You said that you are here to test someone’s hearing, but I have to say that there is no one here that has a hearing problem.’
‘I’m not surprised actually,’ he said with a smile. ‘Because this is obviously a children’s home and not an old people’s home.’
The manager smiled.
‘Sorry to waste your time. If you have any concerns, then this is my card.’ He passed her a card.
She took it and stared at it for a second or two, before tucking into her cardigan pocket. Simon had seen enough. He headed for the door, then turned back. ‘Oh, I just wondered. How easy is it to adopt a child these days? Whom would I contact?’
‘You can contact the Bristol Social Services Adoptions Department.’
‘Oh,’ he said.
‘Is this for you and your wife?’ she asked, searching for that vital piece of information about his marital status.
‘Yes,’ he lied, feeling conscious of the fact that he was not wearing a wedding ring. He noticed her glance down at his hands, but far too briefly to really see if he had a wedding band or not.
‘I see. Well good luck. Now I have a lot to do,’ she said. Simon couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable. He found his own way out.
Copyright © 2013 by B. C. Bamber