“Fuck!” Sacha hissed, dropping to her knees and crouching awkwardly next to the armchair, “Fuckfuckfuck.”
The figure glided away from the window silently, apparently having not seen her and Sacha was sure as hell going to keep it that way. She kept her gaze fixed upon the window for a moment longer and, deeming it safe to do so, surged to her feet and ran to the kitchen. She could hear the garden gate creaking on its rusted hinges and knew she had but moments to hide.
She scanned the room, searching, thinking…there! She darted forward and hunkered down in front of a cupboard. She wrenched the door open and began to force her way in, the pots and pans clanking as she pushed them aside.
Curled up in the damp-smelling darkness of her too-small kitchen cupboard with several handles digging into various places, Sacha finally began to relax. She grinned, having outwitted the man who lurked outside her house.
With a pained yelp, she twisted her arm behind her back and retrieved the phone from her pocket…and that was when she heard it.
…a scrape against the kitchen window.
She punched in a number and her husband answered on the second ring.
“You are literally downstairs,” he groaned, his voice laced with sleep, “What?”
“Whatever you do, don’t get out of bed. Don’t open the curtains, don’t -”
“Are you being serious? It’s my day off, like I was gonna -”
“Are…are you sure?”
Sacha nodded, a sieve scratching at her cheek as she did so.
“Yep and he almost saw me.”
“Fucking hell, Sach, where are you now?”
She gave her location and hung up. She awaited the inevitable in complete silence save for the sound of her shallow breathing.
Saved by the bell. Literally.
Sacha kicked the door open and spilled from the cupboard ungracefully, sending her favourite wok skidding across the floor.
“Yeah,” she called, brushing herself down“Be there in a second.”
She walked down the hallway, swiping her purse from the sideboard as she went. She donned her best smile as she swung open the front door.
“That’s the windows cleaned,” the window cleaner grinned, “Same time next month?”
“Sounds perfect!” Sacha replied, handing over the money, “Thanks, the windows look great.”
She closed the door and slid to the floor with a sigh of relief. Another month, another awkward encounter with the window cleaner avoided. Success.
When I was a child, I found the window cleaner’s monthly visit something of a traumatic experience. There was the awkward eye contact that followed the shriek of walking into a room to find a random person at the window…what’s the socially acceptable thing to do in such a situation? Smile? Wave? It was too much for my brain to handle.