The Peacock Mosaic

Memory of a ghost and a toilet


One day, when I was 12 years’ old and living with my family in a semi-rural suburb of Perth, my Grandma came to visit us. I was in the upstairs part of the house with my parents, older sister and Grandma having dinner, when I had to go to the toilet. Couldn’t hold on any longer. The toilet was outside in a small room located at the bottom of the stairs, with a vast, shadowy, cavernous space ‘underneath’. No-one wanted to come with me. Outside on the balcony the bush crept closer in the darkness of the night. I stood at the top of the old wooden stairs which disappeared into the inky blackness. I tiptoed down and they creaked with every one of my steps. I held my breath and then bolted the last few steps into the safety of the toilet. Ahhhhh! Relief at last.

I was lost in my thoughts of the impending trip back up the stairs in the bushy black night when there was a sudden SMACK on the frosted window pane – an old withered hand cracked onto the glass.

I screamed, caught my breath then angrily yelled out ‘Grandma! You’ll have to wait your turn!’

No reply. I then remembered that Grandma couldn’t walk down the steps. I washed my hands quickly in the tiny sink. I gingerly opened the toilet door, peeked out but saw nothing. I bolted up those back steps faster than the speed of light and into the sanctity of my home. I walked into the dining room and there was Grandma, smiling, sitting at the table with a cup of tea in her hand. I didn’t sleep that night…

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