This was the right address for sure, though I still couldn’t believe it. The house is a straight rectangle, red bricked with large coloured glass windows. There was no front or back garden, instead there was just a gravel edging and small driveway for a car. A tall large, iron fence encloses the area with the only way in being a double gate.
I step to the side, still clutching the piece of paper and looking past the house. About eight feet up, was the end of a graveyard and there was only a brick wall keeping it from land sliding into the house.
I went to the door and rang the bell. I slip the paper into my bag and felt my slightly sweaty palms. A dog started barking. I jumped a little then hurriedly straighten out my cleaning uniform which consisted of blue trousers and a t-shirt. Long gone were those little black white laced dresses.
The door open, revealing a smiling old man with a pair of sunglass balanced on his nose. He had a nice light grey suit on and his right hand was holding the handle bar of a dog harness. I smiled at the yellow lab, who’s tail was wagging hard, before announcing myself.
Hi, I’m Daphne from the agency, we have an interview today.
He nodded, welcoming me in and closing the door behind me.
Can I stroke your dog? He looks very handsome.
I put my hand down and the dog licked my fingers. I laughed and wiped his drool away.
The old man indicted to the first room and we went in there.
So, this place is a converted Methodist church right?
He nodded and told me a brief history. Most of which I had read online.
I settled into the overstuffed chair, he had taken the other one, and looked around the room. It seemed sort of bare. There was a small fire place with some ornaments on top of the mantle, a matching sofa to the armchairs, a small side table and a glass case in the corner. The wallpaper was dark cream with climbing ivy flowers and the floor was wooden boards, beside from a large rug in the middle.
When he had finished I asked if he had ever been able to see?
He shook his head and launched into speech. One he’d given countless times. I really shouldn’t have asked, but the internet hadn’t told me much.
I understand that, don’t amputees feel the same? I’m sure I heard that somewhere.
My other jobs? There‘s been nothing out of the ordinary really. I just do what I can to make money. Things have been difficult these past few years.
You are a famous author. I’ve often read about you in some magazine or other. You’ve received many prizes and been to some huge events.
Well, I guess that’s one thing less to do, I thought and looked at Theo. He seemed mega happy, with his tongue rolling out and his tail beating a drum on the floor.
I’m afraid I’ve not read any of your works. I’m sorry.
Your books. I’ve no read any of them.
Read to you? Yes, of course. I use to do that in the home I worked in. What other duties will I have? I know what the job advert said, but it would be nice to clarify.
Well, that all seemed reasonable. I’m happy with that. Would I have to live here though?
I thought about telling him I was planning to move in with my boyfriend. But I held back. He waved a hand up as he spoke then it dropped as he become thoughtful once more. I waited, trying not to stare, but finding nothing in the room to set my eyes on. He opened his mouth again and told me the tasks to do with Theo. The dog looked up loving and excitedly as his name was said.
Yes. I love dogs. I’d be happy to help care for him.
Questions? Do you need support getting in and out of bed? Or the bath tub?
Well, that’s fine. What about the weekly shopping? Ah that’s good know.
How many people have you interviewed now? You don’t have to tell me and I’m just curious.
Allergic to dogs? Why did she even apply? The agency stated you had to be okay with dogs. That would make sense. Oh, well I guess most people are. Still though I’m sure you’ll make the right choice…. Me? Oh? Well, thanks. Can I have some time to think about it? Would that be okay?
Yes, I’ll get back in touch before the week is out. How many more people have applied?
I nod away as he flows on to into story then remember he can’t see. I look around the room again and decide that I might take the job. He seems a nice enough old man and it doesn’t seem like too much trouble.
I laugh as his story tails off and points out one flaw.
Didn’t the Victorians hide anyone with a disability away? Or something?
He sighs and agrees with me, before getting back to the interview.
No, there’s nothing else I can think of right now. Any questions from you?
He brings everything to a close then stands up.
Oh, it’s okay. I can show myself out. Please.
He waves me away and commands his dog to the door. Theo takes us there, his tail forever wagging. At the door, I watch his hands feel across it for the latch and handle. I fight down the urge to help him.
I will let you know. Thank you for seeing me today. Shall I get that…? It was nice to meet you too.
He opens the door and we say our goodbyes.
I step out and walk down to the gate. The door shuts behind me and I take in a deep breath of cold autumn air. I turn back as I step onto the street once again and look up at the house. Yes, I think I’ll be taking the job.