Eavesdropping

This short story is an example of how not everything is as it might appear….or is it?  –   It is not entirely fictitious.


As I stood in my kitchen, the small flat screen of the TV on the counter top was showing an old film, or was it a film of old things, I wasn’t really watching it and the sound was on mute. The obviously staged image was a rather nondescript young man and rain running, rather than dripping, from the edge of a thatched roof. He seemed glad of the wide eaves to shelter under. In front of him but behind the camera, the youth was keeping a keen eye on what I took to be passing traffic perhaps trying to avoid the worst of the splashes from quickly forming grey puddles in the muddy gutter. With no sound from the speakers, I easily imagined the shwish, swosh and splosh of the street scene and whatever disaster or misfortune was going to befall the young person. This imaginary soundtrack was punctuated by something rather more recognisable filtering through to my left ear, voices, which, if I concentrated, I could just make out what they might be saying, so I did.

“Would you like some of mummy’s milk my precious?”

The tone was soft but I immediately pictured an idyllic family scene on the other side of the unsubstantial wall between this and the flat next door.

“There we are, oh you like that don’t you?”

With my interest in the film lapsing by the second, I saw the unfortunate boy jump to one side to avoid the attempt of something to drown his already dark, moist looking shoes. There was no time nor interest to take in more of the developing drama as my mind’s eye had focused on the hidden scene which had started to clear a little now that I had given it more of my attention.

“You’re starting to get too big for this I think, Oh dear, wait, no, hang on, ahhh, there we are, now you’re there.”

“Let me just…”

It was a different voice, a man’s voice, deeper at least. My brain raced to rearrange the picture it had still only partially formed. With this additional pin prick of fascination, I took little notice of the television with its passing drowning dangers, my ears and eyes fully focused on the brick and tile divide and the tantalising sounds of something, of what, of who, who knew? In reality I sort of did, my neighbours, a nice couple with a relatively new beautiful bouncing baby boy .

“Slow down, there’s no rush, we don’t want to….” the voices annoyingly faded out of range.

It went almost silent. I turned the TV off altogether to see if it helped. Nothing. Then I jumped as a figure walked past the window and for some reason I felt myself go very red.

Managing a wave to the neighbour who was carrying his rubbish bag to the communal rubbish bin, he swung his face to meet mine, I grimaced an obvious embarrassment, he had a calm look of a man satisfied.

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