‘THANK you for letting me stay,’ I say.
She smiles and changes the subject. ‘Do you know about this estate?’
‘The developers bought the old psychiatric hospital. Remember? Of course you do. Sorry. They used a lot of the original materials.’
We are outside.
‘See! On that brick. Still some cream paint. And some blue.’
‘Corridors. It was in the corridors.’
‘Let’s not dwell on that. Shall we go for a walk? There’s a Nature Reserve nearby. Get some fresh air into your lungs. Lots of wildlife now. It was derelict before.’
‘So peaceful. But I’d like to go back. I’m still not used to being . . . you know.’
She takes my hand.
We are in her living room. I feel warm, protected.
‘I know it’s early but I’d like to go up now, if that’s all right?’
‘Of course. You need your sleep. Sweet dreams.’
I wave goodnight from the door.
I am in bed. It’s dark. My bladder is full. I don’t turn on the lights. Don’t want to wake her. There is soft carpet under foot, cool tiles in the bathroom, cold plastic seat. I finish.
I pat along for the silky wallpaper outside my room. Further than I thought. No carpet yet. Lino. At last my bedroom door. The handle. Stuck. I try again. Must not panic. I rattle the handle loudly. Behind me soft footsteps.
‘Let’s get you back to bed,’ she says.
Her torch illuminates a corridor stretching far into the distance – cream and blue.