I shave it!!

I first met Julie when I climbed through the window at the old-fashioned firm in the village. The office is next door to the church on Church Street and was erected in the Tudor period. The large oak staircases on the ground floor hid the usual nooks and crannies that can be found in a genuine Tudor building. The staircase to the attic, only accessible to those who worked there, required balletic balance and flexibility to traverse: it was narrow, uneven and not quite tall enough for a fully-grown adult. I found the attic to be creepy. Because the lower floors were better insulated, the attic was biting cold in the winter and unbearably hot in the summer. I’d like to think that this was the reason I felt the attic was haunted but I expect I felt it was haunted because it was dust-covered and full of history.

One day, when I was working with three other secretaries in the library, a book pulled itself out of the case and, after pausing in the air for a moment, fell to the floor.  I thought it was hilarious at first but the lady sitting across from me went pale and insisted that the book hovered in the air for a moment.  However, after that I was sure to address the phantom in the office so that no other scary stunts frightened us. 

The day I met Julie was rainy: the annex had a flat roof and needed the drains to be cleared. I pulled on my Wellington boots, climbed through the window to the flat roof and I scooped up the leaves. Once the water was nearly gone from the roof, I climbed back through the window to see Jeanette walking through to her interview at the firm. She was originally from Peru and had been a secretary but because English was not her native tongue, she would need some assistance. I, of course, fell in love with her almost immediately. She must have been so brave to come to England without knowing the language. Her accent, in particular, made for some laughs:

“What do you do when your sheet makes the balls?!”

Um what?

“What do you do when your sheet makes the balls?!”

Aside: Julie never spoke without an exclamation mark at the end. Once she came off the phone with her husband where she shouted and gesticulated with great emotion. I asked her – Are you OK? She said “yes. Why?” I said that she was talking as if she was angry…. She chuckled. “No. I have the hot American blood. I was telling my husband that I wanted him to take the clothes out of the washer and into the dryer.”

Um, what?

“What do you do when your sheet makes the balls?!”

Honey, I know what you’re saying but you will need to use different words because we don’t understand you.

“Your sheet.”


“On the bed!”

Ah!  Your bedsheets!

“Yes, it makes balls!”

Her bedsheets were bobbling. We gave her some suggestions – buy new ones, flip them over, etc. Julie said:

“I shave it!”

I compared her with the Princess and the Pea and even she laughed.

Published by Jade Hammer

It is in the deepest night that I have contemplated all the things I have thought, said and done. Why these things come to me at night probably says a lot about how the mind belittles and magnifies aspects of the personality. In sleeplessness, you see nothing, you also see everything: life themes, life lessons, ways to better approach your own thoughts, words and deeds. My name is Jade Hammer and these are the life lessons that have kept me up at night.

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