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It was several years before she was considered fit to be released. Now free of the
curse of drugs she was advised to forsake her old haunts and so called friends.
Her mind kept returning to her hallucinatory dreams of the attic in Windermere. In her heart of hearts she knew she must relent and return to Windermere to discover either the source of the dream or slay the dragon of her nightmare. Either could release her, either could make her situation and mindset worse. What to do?
Finally after a few weeks she found herself once more at the bus station awaiting the coach for Windermere and Ambleside. It was 2 months since her release in the middle of August. The day was grey and full of foreboding. The sort of day when sleep is the sane man?s choice.
Her nerves jangled as she wondered what the next few days would reveal. At last the coach arrived and she was on her way hoping for a dream, dreading a nightmare.
Her first few days were spent in the cheapest B & B she could find. By day she prowled the small lakeside town always looking at the roofline always searching for her dreamed of attic. As she became more familiar with the town the memory of her dream gradually returned and finally she narrowed her search by remembering the view from the attic window. Then suddenly there it was in front of her. The very house of her dreams. An involuntary shiver raced down her spine.
Slowly she approached the door her body felt too heavy for her legs to support, her heart pounded so loudly that she felt sure others must be able to hear it.. After an eternity she was there on the step. As she stood at the door she was aware of curtains twitching at nearby windows. She had knocked at the door before she spotted the doorbell. For some reason she found this acutely embarrassing and as the door was opened she was still blushing bright scarlet.
The lady who answered the door was much younger than the dreamt of lady. ?Can I help you?? She asked in a pleasantly pitched voice. ?Have you an attic I could rent?? She blurted out. ?Why an attic are you an artist? Do you intend to starve?? Asked the lady of the house. ?It?s a long story involving a dream I promise I?ll tell you one day? she replied. ?So if I want to hear the story I?d better rent you the attic but I must warn you it?s been years since it was used.
She gazed out of the attic?s turreted window. The view down Lake Windermere through the weak watery late afternoon sun was stunning. The screech of gulls added to her sense of return to better times. She had been lucky to get this attic it must be the cheapest rent in Cumbria she thought, mind you with it?s threadbare carpet and rickety furniture she could see why. She had no hot water but the lady had said she could use the bathroom downstairs so at least she could keep clean in comfort. There was no proper kitchen just a Baby Belling. These thoughts ran through her head, these echoes from the past.
Later she returned to the window a low mist cloaked the lake like the gossamer webs on a dewy autumnal lawn. Above the moon shone bright and cold in a star filled sky.
It?s a night for mystery and magic she thought. The feelings of dread lifted like weights from her shoulders.
The next few days were hectic. She had agreed to a rent-free two months in exchange for giving her new home an early spring clean and a coat of paint. She was also washing up lunch times and evenings in a pretentiously called Bistro. It wasn?t enough but it helped to eke out her dwindling funds.
Diana, her landlady, was impressed with her handiwork and a few days later Diana had arranged for her to meet Diana?s brother in law. She had returned from the meeting frightened but elated. It was all too neat this falling into place. The brother in law had offered her a job for the close season refurbishing holiday cottages. The wages had been more than she expected but she had been warned the work would be hard and tiring. This was too deja vu for comfort but then she remembered the night of mystery and magic and her uplifted feelings.
Six weeks had passed since her arrival in Windermere and the sullen grey autumn had become a cold and biting winter. Funds were much less of a problem as in addition to her day job she had continued to work at the Bistro in the evenings, this, not only brought in extra money, but also an evening meal and a packet of sandwiches for the next day. Not the standard expected by our dear old queen to say nothing of the queer old dean, she chuckled, but quite acceptable. Several visits to Lakeland Plastics and careful choices from the seconds and discontinued lines had helped to give her small but freshly cleaned and painted attic a homely feel. Bob, the brother in law, had given her a small fridge-freezer and an old TV, which she hardly ever watched, from a cottage he was upgrading.
As she sat in front of the spluttering wood fire she pronounced herself well satisfied with her progress, even if it is a dream she muttered, querulously, to herself.
She couldn?t remember exactly how Ryan had come into her life. He had been an occasional visitor to the Bistro but his visits had become more frequent and they had fallen into the habit of chatting. Soon he was calling in almost every night and one very slow night she had had one glass of wine too many and gradually had related her whole story to him When she awoke the next morning she recalled the previous evening and felt sure that her ?confession? would have driven Ryan away but that night he was back at the Bistro.
It was inevitable that they would become lovers sure he was very normal looking but as she often said to herself her face would not launch a dozen pedalos let alone a thousand ships.
It was the week before Christmas and as she lay in her bed the moonlight streaming through the not quite closed curtains, the water could be heard lapping at the lake side and in the distance an owl hooted. The same thought reoccurred to her again and again was this still a drug induced dream or was it reality? She twisted and turned in her anxiety caused nightmare. Suddenly she opened her eyes and saw the small fibre optic Christmas Tree glowing in the corner of the room and breathed a sigh of relief. At that moment an arm enfolded her. ?Sshh you?re safe your hopeful romantic is here. On hearing the words she jammed her eyes shut not daring to open them.
Dream or reality the conundrum remains
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