The Stranger


.…without warning a soft knock resonated at the door

Story #3 for Daily Post Writing Challenge

The Stranger

It was late, Christmas Eve. The evening had been a quiet one, spent with good friends and close family members. Everyone left about 10:00 and my husband stayed up for awhile to help me with the cleaning up. Seeing how tired he was I suggested that he retire to bed and I would finish up in the kitchen.

The next morning would be a busy time with preparations for Christmas dinner and I needed a clean kitchen to work in so I happily stayed up to wash the last few glasses and put things away.

After finishing in the kitchen I walked around the livingroom, extinguishing the candles, picking up the loose bits of wrapping paper and tidying up the opened presents. I had just unplugged the Christmas tree lights when without warning a soft knock resonated from the front door. The dog began to bark furiously. Who would be at my door at 11:30 at night on Christmas Eve?

I froze but quickly caught my breath. I quietly inched my way to a window where I could see who was outside on my front porch. I saw that the person was a woman in a puffy black coat but I couldn’t make out her features. I went to the front door and without opening it I called out to the stranger and asked her what she wanted.

In a desperate voice she told me she was a neighbour and needed a loonie and a quarter. Who needs $1.25 on Christmas Eve? The closest 24 hour store was 7 blocks west and 2 blocks north from here. There wasn’t a waiting car or taxi that I could see. I know most of my neighbours and her Eastern European accent wasn’t familiar to me. I didn’t know what to do. Even the dog had stopped barking. I could hear her mumbling away when I didn’t respond to her plea.

My husband was sound asleep. I knew I had no change in my wallet and I was afraid. I quietly turned from the door, made sure all the other doors in the house were locked, turned off the last of the lights and tiptoed up the stairs to bed. I looked out from the upstairs window but the stranger had left. I don’t know where she went but I think I did see her walking along the street that intersects our road. She was warmly dressed and she seemed to know where she was going.

I felt guilty, nervous and unsettled. How ironic that on Christmas Eve I was like the inn keepers that had no room for Mary and Joseph. I sent her away. Is it fair to compare my situation to that classic bible story? It is after all 2012. I live in a city where home invasions periodically take place. If I had opened the door would she have pushed her way in and robbed us or was someone else with her waiting in the shadows? I’ll never know for sure but I did have a restless sleep that night. Every creak and tiny noise put me on edge.

The next morning when I told my husband what happened he told me I had done the right thing. What would you have done?

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3 thoughts on “The Stranger

  1. It’s such a difficult situation isn’t it? In South Africa it’s also not safe to open a door to anyone. we are constantly in fear of our lives. I’ve come to the conclusion that I will help where I can, when I’m in a safe public place, but if it’s closer to home, I have no choice but to think of me and my family’s safety first. Not the ideal, and quite tragic that the world has come to this, but what can you do?

  2. I’d have done much the same. If she said her car had broken down or she’d had an accident I might have considered it, but sadly, in the world of today anyone knocking on your door late at night, asking for money, has to be considered highly suspicious.

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