Halloween has passed with much festivity and mirth. It was a good year this year; the Captain was on form and the youngsters had practised their tricks to perfection. My son’s girlfriend thought it was a good idea to have a party at the Hall so we had many warm bloods to play with. What joy! I’ve always relished a good prank or two.
The upstairs bathroom was our choice for mischief. The bathroom furniture dates back to the swinging sixties, all teal coloured with a modern edge. At least it was. The room has a huge mirror over the sink which is going black around the edges. The silver is corroding giving it a misty glow and your reflection is smudged and faint. Perfect. The downstairs bathroom is presently out of order so all the guests stomped up to admire themselves in it.
Once upon a time in a bathroom…
Mysteriously the upstairs lights dimmed for the evening; (possibly due to the Norseman) making the creaky walk up the stairs followed by a slight jog along the darkened Captains corridor rather a scary affair for the living. The Captain loves making warm blood cool so he stands glaring at them in the middle of the walkway so they have to pass through him to get to the bathroom. It is quite a treat watching everyone shiver in that spot and the Captain glows with joy. This year, as we had guests, even the ghost in the hole, joined in with the festivities. I think he was the one playing with the electricity, flickering the lights and popping a few light bulbs downstairs in the big lounge.
Well, when they got into our retro suite, Emily and I took over. By standing in the bath behind them we could appear, mouths open in silent screams. Strangely some didn’t even see us, so we tried more extreme methods. I would create steam on the mirror and Emily, good with her hands, would start to draw in the mist. The effect was always the same, no matter what she drew (from death skull to pig); slight paralysis, sweat and an immediate and fast vacation of the room, followed often by some serious crying down the corridor of shivers. Only one young woman, slightly worse for wear with wine, was quite fascinated by the magical drawing on the mirror. I think she would have stayed with us all night except that there was a small queue building outside the door. She looks sad to have to return to the living. At one point a couple started to get sexual in there, so we started water running from every tap and jiggled the old window frames until they squealed in pain and that soon stopped them. Even Brigitte went home early, complaining of a headache. We kept shutting the door in her face as she went to leave. She almost ran down the drive after Charles saved her by forcing the portal brutally back, making Oliver disappear into the ground.
I remember bathing my children in that bath, giggling and playing with the bubbles, sliding up and down on the enamel. It was also my winding down space; a volcanically hot tub and a room filled with perfumed steam. No housework, no husband, no mess, no children, unless Sophia wanted to talk. She would jump up on the side, next to the sink, swinging her legs and babble endlessly on about her school friends and their boyfriends. It a shame I never really appreciated that closeness and intimacy. Being a housewife can drive you crazy you know. You can be more obsessed with a carpet than your own kith and kin. I would love just to hold her now; to take her in my arms and just hold her. To have her chat on excitedly about her life; her eyes looking for my approval and asking for my advice; that would be bliss but I can wait.
My old bedroom, all chocolate brown shag pile carpet and equally dark velvety walls has been transformed into a workshop of indescribable horror. Mismatched shelves stand in crocked lines, sagging under the weight of god knows what. My boudoir of peace looks more like a shed. The grassy wool of the carpet now has bald patches and the wallpaper looks greased rather than velveteen smooth. Where my big king-size bed rested there now lurks a huge table, encrusted with metal grips and solutions that appear to burn through surfaces. Only the small chandelier remains, hanging over it all like a dusty reminder of a glamorous past. The perfumes and the swish of my dresses, powder and hairspray and the glint of jewels all smothered by the present into whispers of me.
At first I did cry at the sight of my murderous house. I still bear scars from the pathetic state it would reduce me too. Now, I just wait for my children and watch. Certainly puts your life in perspective up here. All that you do, all your passion and pain, your triumphs and terrors, mix in with the dust in time.
So get out there and bloody enjoy yourself while you can. Oh and don’t come to the hall for a party near Halloween. You may not leave…