She doesn’t speak to me, unless she can’t avoid it. I am a reproach to her; and a necessity.
We stood face to face for the first time five weeks ago, when I arrived at this posting. The Guardian from the previous posting brought me to the front door. On first days we are permitted front doors, but after that we’re supposed to use the back. Things haven’t settled down, it’s too soon, everyone is unsure about our exact status. After a while it will be either all front doors or all back.
Aunt Lydia said she was lobbying for the front. Yours is a position of honour, she said.
The Guardian rang the doorbell for me, but before there was time for someone to hear and walk quickly to answer, the door opened inwards. She must have been waiting behind it. I was expecting a Martha, but it was her instead, in her long powder-blue robe, unmistakeable.
So, you’re the new one, she said. She didn’t step aside to let me in, she just stood there in the doorway, blocking the entrance. She wanted me to feel that I could not come into the house unless she said so. There is push and shove, these days, over such toeholds.