©Rejoice Denhere 2014
It was snowing when I came out of the tube station. An announcement came over the intercom warning commuters that no buses were running “due to the adverse weather conditions”. It was the last thing I wanted to hear after a long day at work but I was thankful that at least it was Friday. With no cabs in sight, I decided to walk home and took a short cut through the park. Big mistake. I was wearing court shoes which made walking in the snow difficult.
By the time I got home my legs had turned to frozen stilts. I ran a hot bath and poured a generous amount of bath salts and bubble bath. It smelt glorious. I lit tea light candles then turned off the lights. I quickly undressed, put one foot, then another, into the warm bubbly water. Before long my eyes closed as my mind drifted.
I must have fallen asleep because when I opened my eyes again the bathroom was dark, the bath water cold. Light streamed in from the street below creating eerie shapes on the wall. I blinked twice to adjust to the darkness as I jumped out of the bath. A hand appeared from nowhere and handed me my bathrobe. Without thinking I said, “Thank you,” and then realised that I was supposed to be alone in the house.
Someone must have followed me in from the park, I thought as fear gripped me. I’d only recently moved to the area to make a fresh start. Now it was quickly beginning to look like it would be the end.
“Just do as I say and we’ll both be fine,” a male voice said.
In the dark I made out the shape of a bearded man about 3 feet tall. That was probably why he had succeeded in following me unnoticed.
“Take whatever you want but please don’t harm me,” I pleaded.
Fate has a way of granting your requests when you no longer need them, I thought sadly. Only a month ago my relationship with Tom had ended badly. My career was important to me. I’d worked hard to get to where I was. I wasn’t yet ready to settle down and start a family. He agreed to the break up instead of waiting a bit longer. It broke my heart so much I wanted to die. Now I was pleading for my life.
The man spoke. “If you let me go I’ll grant you three wishes.”
Coming from a would-be attacker this was a very strange request indeed. I decided to humour him hoping to buy myself time and escape. I said I wanted Tom back and for him to propose. The last wish was embarrassing – dropping eight dress sizes to my ideal weight of 10 stone!
“Granted!” the man said simply and vanished.
I stood still for a minute trying to take in what had just happened. When my courage returned I turned on the bathroom light. I was alone. I did a double take when I saw my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Something in the candle scent must have made me hallucinate and would take time to wear off. As a precaution I searched the whole flat to make sure windows and doors were locked before going to bed.
The next morning I woke up to the sound of birdsong which was soon overtaken by the persistent ringing of the doorbell. I wrapped my dressing gown around me and went to answer it. Tom, my ex, was standing there. Was I hallucinating again?
“What are you doing here?” I asked, puzzled by his presence.
“Um, I’m sorry but have we met before?“ he asked as if speaking to a stranger.
“Tom, it’s me.”
He searched my face then exclaimed, “Wow! You look amazing. You’ve always looked great. What I mean is…”
I looked down at myself. I wasn’t dreaming. I really was 10 stone.
“You haven’t answered my question. What are you doing here?”
“I want you,” he said as he followed me inside. “I know you said you never wanted to see me again but I still want you. I miss you and haven’t stopped thinking about you. Please say you’ll re-consider my proposal.”
“Of course, Yes, Yes and Yes again!” I beamed as he slipped a gold engagement ring on my finger.