Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. Sometimes it’s just too messed up to be believed, even by me and I was there.
Case in point. The events of the evening of Sunday, 30th December 1990.
Earlier that afternoon my father had dropped me off at my flat in Liverpool after my traditional break with them at home in Oswestry. Usually I’d arrive New Years Eve but last year I’d missed out on the party my friends were going to because I got home too late.
I still don’t know what happened to me that night. I’d stayed in that night after a trip to the offy and celebrated alone. Except that when I woke up the next morning, I was wearing a blue t-shirt that was made in Sweden by Fjällräven and nothing else. The perfumed fragrance from the t-shirt and the long blonde hairs on it led me to believe I’d had a woman over at some point. But no memories ever returned and no blonde came looking for her t-shirt. She probably preferred The Cure Inbetween Days one that I noticed was missing.
But back to the events of the night before New Years Eve. I’d called my friends and most of them were having a quiet night in before tomorrow nights blow out party over in Toxteth.
Okay, so full disclosure here. I was at a party in Toxteth a few years before that when the riots happened. The flat the party was in was only two blocks from the worst of it.
I left my motorbike parked on the street that night and stupidly left the keys in the ignition. Yet, it was still there the next morning. The locals had made a couple of minor additions I could have done without in the form of used condoms from the hookers.
Sorry, I got off topic again. So back to that night. I decided to follow suit with the majority of my friends and stay in that night. So after a trip to the offy, I settled in to watch TV and drink beer.
Round ten o’clock a few cars started to honk their horns and the occupants were yelling something before then moving on. On maybe the forth car, I pulled on my coat and went outside to see what as going on.
Walking up and down the middle of the street looking at the houses on our street was a woman. She was soaking wet and looked to be very cold from the way she was shaking.
Oh and the one important point missing from that is that she was very naked. Head to toe, not a stitch on. Not even shoes.
“Excuse me miss. Can I help?” I called out to her as made my way up the street towards her.
She turned to face me. I looked at her as she walked towards me. I recognised her. She was skin and bones now, face sunken in but I was pretty sure it was Linda.
We’d gone on four dates three and half years before and then she’d disappeared. Not that it mattered, there wasn’t going to be a fourth date. She had been just a little too off the wall for me.
“Jon!” She said when she got to me. Wrapping her arms around me and hugging me like I was a life raft and the road was a raging sea.
“Linda. What are you doing here? Were are your clothes?” I asked.
She didn’t answer, just continued to hug me. If anything, her grip on me was a little tighter.
“Linda?” I asked, trying to get her to talk to me. But got no response.
A car went by then. Honking it’s horn and the driver wound down his window as he got closer. Yelling for us to get a room then laughing loudly before driving off.
Linda pulled away and looked up into my eyes. Pushing her black hair that was plastered to her face out of the way as she did so.
“Can we go inside?” She asked as her eyes searched mine. I nodded and led the way into my flat.
She walked straight into my living room area. I popped my head into my bathroom and grabbed a couple of towels before following her.
I sat and watched to see what she’d do after handing her the towels.
She used the one towel to wrap around her soaked hair then rubbed herself dry with the other one. When she felt she was dry enough, she put the towel down on my sofa and sat on it.
Not what I’d expected. I’d figured she’d wrap it around herself. Cover herself up. The Linda I remembered would have. What had changed since I last saw her?
“What happened Linda?”
She looked around the room rather than answer me. I waited to see if she’d eventually say something. My brain running through all the people I knew that knew her as well. Only one name came to mind but I knew I couldn’t call him.
Finally, I couldn’t stand the silence anymore. I stood up and headed for my bedroom, returning with a t-shirt and a pair of my football shorts. For the Americans reading this, I mean football shorts not American football shorts.
I offered them too her. She took them and put them down on the sofa next to her but made no attempt to dress herself.
“Are you hungry?” I asked. Hopeful that avoiding asking about her situation would jump start a conversations. She didn’t speak but she did nod her head. It was a start.
I headed into the “kitchen”. It was basically an area of the living room behind a counter and grabbed a can of soup. Setting it to boil, I looked over to her. She hadn’t but was now a least showing interest in her surroundings. Her eyes slowly scanning my flat. Never settling on anything.
Grabbing the little book I kept by the phone, I then looked up Ben’s number. I knew he wasn’t there but he lived with his parents and they might be able to help me.
I dialed the number slowly as I watched Linda. After the dial had returned to it’s resting place, I was left waiting to see if someone would answer.
On the ten ring, I was about to give up when a woman answered. Breathing heavily, she said “Hello?”
“Mrs. Grimshaw?” I asked.
“Yes. Who is this?”
“What can we do for you Jon?”
“I need to find a contact number for a friend of Ben’s.”
There was silence on the other end of the phone. Just some heavy breathing.
“Sorry Jon. I’m not sure I can help you.”
“I need to find...”
“Jon. Ben’s dead. He killed himself. I really can’t help you,” she told me then I heard her start to sob.
“Oh God! I’m sorry Mrs. Grimshaw. He was a great guy,” I told her. It was true, he was. Well at least was until he tried drugs. He’d got clean but was a little strange after that. I thought he was still in the hospital his parents had put him in to try help him get well.
I heard a rustling and then a man’s voice called curiously and with a touch of anger, “who is this?”
“My name is Jon sir. Jon Oldham. I was trying to find contact information for Linda Watts. I hoped you or your wife could help me but given what she just told me maybe I should go. Sorry for disturbing you.”
“Wait. Jon, you visited my son in the hospital didn’t you?”
“A couple of times sir. I’m so sorry for your lose sir.”
“Hold on a moment. Let me go to my son’s room.” I heard the clunk of the phone being rested on something then footsteps on top of the sound of his wife sobbing. I really wished I’d not called now.
Minutes passed before he was back on the phone. I heard him flipping through pages in a book and then with a sigh, he asked “Linda Watts you say?”
He read out a number to me as I copied it down. “Thank you sir. Sorry again for your loss.”
“It’s okay. Will you come to the funeral?” He asked, almost pleading.
“Yes sir. When and where?” I asked.
“We don’t know yet. Give me your number and I’ll let you know.”
I gave him my number and said my goodbyes before hanging up. Looking up, Linda was still just sitting there doing nothing.
Looking at the stove, the soup was bubbling. Time to serve it. Grabbing a bowl, I poured in the soup then grabbed a spoon and took it to her.
Silently, she took it from me. Resting it on the arm of the sofa. She then started to take small spoonfuls from the edge of the bowl. Blowing on each time before drinking it.
Leaving her to eat, I returned to the kitchen and tried the number I had got from Mr. Grimshaw. There was no answered after twenty or so rings so I hung up and tried again. Just incase I dialed the number wrong. I hadn’t, there was no answer the second time either.
I returned to the living room proper and knelt before Linda, “Linda, how do you end up here? Where are your clothes?”
“I didn’t have any clothes,” she told me with her lifeless voice between spoonfuls of soup.
Didn’t have any clothes? That made no sense to me. I couldn’t fathom a situation where she wouldn’t have clothes.
I looked more closely at her now. Looking for clues that might help. As I mentioned before, her cheeks were sunken in like she’d not been eating right for a long time. Her hair was a lot longer than when I knew her and didn’t look like it was in as good a condition as he remembered.
Her eyes lacked the healthy sparkle I remembered from before. Back then her eyes told you she enjoyed life but these eyes said life trampled on her while wearing heavy boots.
The one “good” change was that her breasts seemed bigger and fuller than I remembered. I felt a pang of guilt for even thinking that.
As my eyes moved lower, I was left wondering if they were really bigger or if they looked that way as a result of a fairly dramatic weight loss.
I say that because you could see her rib cage and her stomach seemed like a void between the ribs and her pelvis. Before she’d been carrying a little puppy fat there. Not much, I’d say a healthy amount.
Same could be said for her legs but now they were lean. It seemed it was just bone and a little muscle,
Linda’s feet were dirty from walking the streets barefooted. But one thing stood out to me and looking at her fingers confirmed it.
The Linda I knew and the Linda Ben told me about wouldn’t go anywhere without perfectly painted nails. Both fingers and toes.
This Linda didn’t have the remotest sign of nail polish on either. Indeed her finger nails looked like they been chewed on and had been for a long time.
What in the hell happened to her?
There was one other change that caught my eye. Sadly, I have to admit it kept my eye too. Old Linda kept a clean shaved pussy but this Linda had a thick unruly bush there.
I knew I was doing wrong when I realised that she’d opened her legs to give me a better view. Blushing, I looked up to find the faintest hint of a smile on her face.
“Sorry,” I said, as I got up from my knees and took her bowl. Returning it to the kitchen then swilling it before dropping it into the sink to deal with in the morning.
“Linda, is there someone I should let know that you’re here?” I asked looking at her from the kitchen area. She shook her head no.
“Do you want me to take you home?” There was a visible shudder at that. She collapsed onto the sofa and pulled herself into the fetal position. Visible shaking.
Did whatever happened to her happen at her home? What could have happened? What turned this once crazy fun loving girl into the wreck that now lay on my sofa? Maybe I shouldn’t use the word crazy, maybe passionate or exuberant would be better.
Kneeling beside her, I started to gently rub on her back. Whispering that she was safe here, that I’d help and that she didn’t have to go home. The shaking slowly stopped then her body seemed to relax. Minutes after that she started to snore.
Using the quilt from my bed, I covered her up and headed to bed myself. I layed there for awhile debating calling the police. They would know if she had been reported missing.
I finally drifted off to sleep but not before I’d seen four o’clock roll by on my alarm clock.
Hate isn’t too strong a word for my feelings for the doorbell that my flat was equipped with. It sounded like what I imagined a jack hammer hitting a bell would sound like. I’d rather listen to a fire alarm than it.
It had woken me from my sleep and was now clattering again because I hadn’t deemed to answer the door quickly enough for unwanted visitor.
As I debated ignoring the doorbell when I glanced at the alarm clock and saw it was eight in the morning. There was another incentive to remain in the bed as well. I could feel a set of breasts pressed firmly into my back and legs pushing against my ass. There was also the arm draped over arm with a hand resting on my shoulder.
It felt good to have her there. I missed having someone. I’d broke up with my last girlfriend a month earlier. She see things eye to eye with me about us being exclusive. No, she decided she liked to party more than she liked me. And I figured my health was worth more to me than her.
With regret, I let my legs fall out to the side of the bed and pushed myself upright. Looked over my shoulder at Linda. She looked so content sleeping there.
The doorbell went off again. How was she sleeping through that noise? To that damned thing could wake the dead.
Grabbing my housecoat, I headed for the front door. Pausing for a second to look back at Linda when I reached the bedroom door. Wondering when she’d snuck into my bed.