She checks herself in the mirror as she walks to the door. Heavens! She quickly applies mascara.
She opens the door to find a tall woman dressed surprisingly well.
“Good day. How may I help you?” She couldn’t hide her thick English accent.
“Oh, how exciting! Your English?” the woman responded.
“Yes.” The woman put her on edge. “And who, may I ask, are you?”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. My name is Beth Roberts, and I am working on an article for a magazine called 'Southern Living'. You may have heard of it. Would you mind if I asked you some questions?”
That was forward. Annabell really didn’t want to, but she didn’t dare sound rude.
“Of course, please come in,” She directed Beth to the small living room with her two small arm chairs. “May I offer you some tea?”
“That would be wonderful, thank you.”
As Annabell assembled the tea, she watched Beth out of the corner of her eye investigate her living room.
“From where and when did you move here?”
“I moved here from Leeds, England about three weeks ago.” She didn’t dare expand.
“I don’t mean any rudeness, but why move here? It’s a dump.”
Why did I let this lady come in?
“It’s no dump here! I’m gobsmacked by the beautiful river. You wouldn’t believe your eyes if you walked it at dusk.”
Golly, that was a daft response.
Obviously unsatisfied with Annabells response, Beth looked at the family picture on the side table.
“Who is this?”
Why? Why? Why?
“It was a family portrait we took when I was 13: My mother, father, little brother, and me.”
In the following silence, Annabell struggled to stop tears from escaping her eyes. She couldn’t bare looking at the picture. Her aunt had taken it three weeks before her mother was killed in the car accident. Three weeks before she began leading a very different life.
Suddenly, someone in the hall yelled “Out! Reporters, out!” and shot a gun.
“If you are a resident. Don’t move. If you are a reporter, come out into the hall. Don’t make me cock this trigger another time! Do you understand? Either leave peacefully, or not. Either way, you will be gone by the time I make it back to this floor.”
The guilt and sadness left Annabell at once. “Bloody hell! She’s lost her mind! Americans and their guns!”
Without even a goodbye, Beth bolted out of her apartment, leaving Annabell to look out her wide open door.