.…without warning a soft knock resonated at the door
Story #3 for Daily Post Writing Challenge
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?