Part 1.13

There is a muted knock on the door, but I ignore it.  For a while all is quiet and I begin to return to my reveries.  The knocking continues.  Sighing, I get up and walk slowly to the door and open it.  The young girl from upstairs is standing there.
“Oh, hello again,” I say, as brightly as I can muster.
She stands before me shyly, in the same frock she wore the last time I saw her, a light floral affair that hangs loosely on her slight frame.  I wait patiently.
“Er, are your lights working?” she asks.
I reach over to the wall switch with my right hand and click it on.  The bare light bulb above our heads begins to radiate reluctantly.  “Appears so,”  I reply. “Are yours not?”
She shakes her head.  “No, and Jed’s away at the moment. I don’t know what to do.”
“I can take a look if you like?”
She smiles gratefully.  “Would you?  It’s just I don’t really know anyone in the building, and you and I met the other day.”
“So we did,” I reply, “and Harry.”
She looks confused, so I add, “The cat.”
“Anyway,” I continue, “let me get my key.”
I grab the keys from the wall hook and follow her up the stairs.
Her flat is like mine, with one bedroom, a lounge-diner, kitchenette and bathroom, but hers has been cared for.  “A woman’s touch” was the phrase I liked to use before Fiona my wife weaned me off it, it being sexist and all... apparently.  The place is tidy and homely, adorned with little knick-knacks that complement rather than clash.  The window is framed by delicate floral curtains tied back with pink ribbons. 
She waits while I take in the scene, but then clears her throat, and I return to the present.  “Ah, yes, sorry, the lights. Well, the first thing is to check the fuse box.”
As I suspect, she doesn’t know where that is, but a few minutes searching locates it in one of the kitchen cupboards.  The mains switch has tripped, so I flip it back on.  Fortunately it remains up and all the lights in the apartment go on at once.
“Whoa, that’s a lot of light!” I cry.
The girl smiles an apology.  “I like to have the lights on when I’m alone.”
“Perhaps the circuit was overloaded.  That can cause it to turn off, particularly if you’re using several appliances at the same time.”
We stand in awkward silence for a moment, and then I say, “Well, I’d best be going.”
“Uh, thank you so much, but … wouldn’t you like a cup of tea or something?”
For a second, I consider declining and returning to my grey room, but then I look at her hopeful expression and reply with a smile, “A cup of tea would be lovely.”
It is only later that day that I recall her name is Amy.  Amy and Jed - an unlikely pairing; they’d been living together for about a year, apparently.  Amy worked part-time as a shop assistant at Burton’s, while Jed was some sort of salesman.  She was a bit vague on exactly what he sold, which was curious, as was the subtle melancholy that hung around her, tingeing her otherwise bright demeanour.

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