Evelyn Ruddy of 16 Grimace Street woke with a start. She sat up in bed gathering her breath.
It had been another nightmare in which she was running from a malevolent force that threatened to over run her and as fast as her legs could carry her the closer it seemed to get.
Finally, she had awoken and could feel her heart pounding and her lungs gasping for air.
The nightmares had started when she moved to Grimace Street and couldn’t understand why when she felt safe living at Number 16.
She knew what the nightmares were about, her past life where she had been abused and used by a man who saw her as his maid and plaything. With Miss Marble’s help, she had extracted herself from the marriage and found refuge in Grimace Street.
Evelyn Ruddy had been a nurse and she liked being a nurse, it was an escape from her domestic situation, and she found she was happy to work extra shifts and overtime any time she could just to stay away from home.
But Grimace Street was different. She sensed it the day she moved in. There was something very calming about the neighbourhood. Her immediate neighbours had been very kind in welcoming her, and she had been invited to dinner several times and never once did she feel judged.
Evelyn dragged herself from her bed still feeling more exhausted from her nightmare than she had the night before. Coffee she thought, I need coffee.
With the kettle boiling, she sat down and once again the nightmare loomed inside her head.
A knock at the door startled her, as she wasn’t aware she was expecting anyone, and it was a little early she thought for visitors.
Feeling irritated by the intrusion she opened her door to find Miss Marble standing there, coffee cup in one hand and an iced cake in the other.
“We need to chat,” said Miss Marble walking through the door not waiting an invitation.
“We do?” asked Evelyn.
“These nightmares you are having, I can sense them, and they are playing a bit of havoc with the harmony within the street. Nothing serious, not like there’s an upheaval about to occur, but when a resident is having regular nightmares, as you are having I feel its time to offer you some help.”
Evelyn looked incredulously at Miss Marble. “I’m an amateur physic you might say,” added Miss Marble as if that revelation was all that was needed. “Coffee ready?” she asked as she handed Evelyn her cup.
Miss Marble cut Evelyn a generous slice of the cake, and the two women ate each savouring the delicious taste.
“Now,” said Miss Marble, “tell me about this nightmare you’ve been having.”
At Miss Marble’s invitation, Evelyn Ruddy found her mouth telling the tale of her life. Miss Marble sat and listened, nodded in recognition of this point and that and allowed Evelyn the time and space to recount her story.
“Why did he abuse you?” asked Miss Marble.
Evelyn hesitated; clearly, this was not a topic she was willing to talk about. They each took another bite of the cake and Evelyn began again this time revealing the horror of being married to her husband, aptly named Boof.
“I was so desperate,” recalled Evelyn, “I worked longer hours just to stay away. He came to the hospital one night and demanded I go home and get his dinner. He made such a scene, and I was so embarrassed. Then in front of my junior nurse, he hit me, knocked me flying and then threatened the nurse trying to help me. I think that was the night I met you.”
By now tears were flowing down Evelyn’s face, and she covered her face in her hands and sobbed uncontrollably. “How did I let myself get into that situation, Miss Marble? I didn’t know how to get out.”
Miss Marble listened and watched Evelyn with compassion and concern. “You did well to talk about it all Evelyn, sometimes a good talk can change things, not always solve the problem but allow you to see your past for what it was. It will always be with you, but in time you’ll find you can control it and it will know its place.”
With that Miss Marble said she needed to be off but asked Evelyn to drop by that afternoon to sit and watch the sunset.
“The most therapeutic time of the day,” she said as she let herself out the door.