Tea For One
When the floods came, I just thought, ‘Puh’ and went back to filing mould off the window panes. I don’t mind the other signs of wrack and ruin, but mould gets to me somehow.
The first I knew about it was when I went to collect the milk and found the lawn was very boggy. The field out the back had large wet patches on it, and the bottom of the gate was submerged. But, as I say, I didn’t give it much thought. If it’s one thing my long old life has taught me, it’s that most things pass without any mishap in the end, provided you don’t really mind which direction you get washed in.
There are no animals here any more so I didn’t have to bother about them. I just got on with it. It’s a chance to clear out all those kitchen cupboards, stuffed full of food they are, if you don’t worry about sell-by dates.
I shifted as much as I could upstairs, balancing everything on a tea tray. Big boxes of cornflakes, tinned soup (I don’t mind it cold), powdered milk, tins of tuna and piles of sardines. Funny thing is, I don’t ever remember buying a single sardine – not my whole life!
I’ve got a TV in my room, doesn’t work half the time, but the other half I can see what’s going on in the world. It’s funny really, I keep seeing these pictures on the telly, of fields that are now lakes and houses trying to poke their way out of the torrents and then I go to the window and see the exact same view! You can hear it rushing in sometimes. Must be when the drains get overloaded or something. I don’t know, I haven’t been down to look. I peeked down the stairs when I went to the bathroom and saw the water was up to the fourth step. So that must be most of my ground floor gone. I’ve got the kettle up here though, as long as the electricity keeps going and I can make a cup of tea I’ll be alright.
People bang on the door from time to time. One bloke was really persistent but I wasn’t going downstairs for anything. Such a fuss! I watched him leave out of the window; he was in a boat, wearing a life jacket – puh! – part of some kind of rescue crew. My neighbours have left, the ones I can see anyway. Shot off at the first sign of trouble. There’s no point, I’d love to tell them, the water’s come now, and it’ll go, just exactly the same as if you’d stayed put. That’s life.
Or it’s not. I have thought about what happens if the flood water rises a lot further. I don’t suppose they’d find me for ages. What would they see when they did? A little old lady floating on her back, long grey hair streaming down her sides, soggy cornflakes bobbing by. Or maybe I’d be sunk into a little heap in the corner and they’d think I was just a bunch of old rags until they hoovered out all the water.