Friday, 13 March 2009
The Good Neighbours
It happened once that Love and Death moved into a building next door to each other. You can imagine how difficult that might have been, for Love was dedicated to Life, but Death... well she was just doing a job. As it happened this was not a problem because for a long time they never met. Death was up early for work and off doing her rounds as she must. The very ancient, the very ill, the stillborn, even the suicide must all be attended to. Of all of them she didn't mind the suicides. They at least wanted her to turn up. Yet she felt also a wistful sort of regret that they had fallen out of love with living.
Love on the other hand got up late, lingering with someone in a warm bed, lingering over them once he was up. Love did not want his lovers to leave, but he always left them with the gift of well - Love.
It happened that one morning, in the street a man decided to commit suicide. It was still early so Love was not up, but Death was, feeling that something was not quite right. She peered out of the window and sighed.
"Couldn't you wait a few more hours when I have to get up anyway?" she murmured, slipping into her lingerie and a lovely red silk dress trimmed with antique lace.
The suicide had sat himself down on the pavement. I should not call him a suicide just yet, I suppose. He was so far out of love with living that he practically yearned for Death... and then, there she was standing in the doorway of the building opposite. Her red silk dress with antique lace, her red patent leather knee-high boots (which by the way, she was very fond of) and a cardigan of bottle green wool which Empathy had lent her years ago and forgotten about. Now Love had got up feeling slightly overwrought due to his lover kissing him so passionately that she had almost drawn blood. He was sure he was bleeding and had gone to the bathroom and returning to bed, glanced out of the window. He saw the man sitting miserably on the kerb and felt sorry for him.
Now the man did not recognise Death, she was always careful not to frighten anyone for she knew that the idea of her frightened the living enough, so all he saw was a fabulously beautiful woman... with a scythe for some reason. He looked up and if he was so far out of love with living he was suddenly overcome with Death. He did not look up at the two windows, one whose curtains were black silk and the other whose curtains were red velvet. He did not see Love open the window quietly and prime his bow. All he saw was Death standing there with her red lipstick on her pale, pale face and her cloud of black hair and the look of almost weariness on her face.
Love was very careful with his aim and his arrow was true. Suddenly the man gasped as the arrow struck him to the heart and Death sighed. Love, she knew was not blind; but he could be extremely careless sometimes. The man arose, deeply in love with Death and she raised her scythe as he crossed the road in front of the car that hit him and scythed his soul from his body. Having led him to the Other Realm from which no traveller returns, she returned herself to her flat and put the kettle on. When she heard the knock at the door she sighed again and went to open it.
Love stood there and he was most unhappy.
"He was in love, I made sure of it and you just snatched him away from her," Love said crossly recognising Death.
"You never look to see who anyone is falling in love with, do you?" she answered crossly.
"He was in love..." Love faltered.
"He was out of love with Life, but you couldn't make him fall back in love with her could you? Instead he fell in love with me and crossed the street without looking to tell me!" Death snapped.
Love bowed his head and whispered sorrowfully, "I didn't know. I should have known."
Death mellowed at the sight of him and taking him by the hand led him in and gave him breakfast. They were never close friends, after all, Love is dedicated to Life and Death... well she's just dedicated. That's enough to be going on with.