Doorstep Challenge   Leave a comment

Jack Thornton sat down beside the roaring fire and poured himself a large whiskey. He had been working hard all day in the garden, but it had been a nippy day, and his old bones needed to thaw out. He took a sip of the whiskey, sat back in the comfy arm-chair and closed his eyes. His momentary bliss was suddenly interrupted by a loud knocking on the front door.

Jack wearily dragged himself up and made his way to the door. “Who could that be now?” he muttered. He opened the door slowly. Jack had expected some salesperson or someone full of religious fervour; instead he was confronted with a man and woman in their mid-thirties, with a boy about ten years of age, and a girl who could possibly be seven or eight.

“Yes?” Jack inquired.

“Please, we are desperate, we need work, we need food, we need to sleep,” pleaded the dark swarthy man. His English was heavily accented.

“But…” Jack began to say, and then he looked into the sad, distressed eyes of the children.

“Come in and warm yourselves up for a minute, and I might be able to give you something to eat.”

“Thank you so much. You are so kind. God look after you sir.” The man grasped Jack’s hand and pumped it up and down. The woman smiled with tears in her eyes.

Jack led them into the fire. Then leaving the door open, he went into the kitchen to rustle up some eggs on toast and a pot of tea. When it was ready he called them into the kitchen. The family sat down at the kitchen table wide-eyed at the sight of the food. They devoured the eggs on toast, and guzzled the tea. Jack observed their hunger and thirst, so hastily put a jam swiss-roll in front of them, and made more tea. They stopped when the last crumb was gone, and there wasn’t a drop of tea left.

The children began to yawn, and Jack just knew he had to let them sleep in the house. It’s just for one night, he reassured himself.

“You can stay here just for tonight. You can have baths if you want to freshen up. I had the immersion on anyway.”

“Thank you,” the woman said quietly. “You are a good man.”

Jack coughed a little dry cough, and turned away. “Come upstairs and I’ll show you the bathroom, and where you can sleep. I’ll get some sheets and bedclothes.”  The family did what he bid without any hesitation.

Within the hour everybody was settled and fell into a deep slumber. Jack thought about what his son Bobby would say if he knew he had invited complete strangers into his house. But Bobby was in Australia, and what he didn’t know wouldn’t bother him. Jack drifted off too.

Jack woke up to sun peeking around the edges of the curtains. He could hear the sound of a lawn-mower and children laughing. There was a distinct smell of a fried breakfast wafting upstairs. Jack could almost taste it. Pulling on some clothes he crept downstairs, curious to know what was going on. The stranger woman was cooking, the man was outside cutting the lawn, and the children were playing chase around the garden.

The woman gestured for Jack to sit down at the kitchen table for breakfast.

“I find in fridge. Is ok?”

“Is ok. Thank you for cooking breakfast. What is your name?”

“Dorenia.”

Just then the man and the children came in from the garden.

“This Django,” Dorenia said pointing to the man….. “and this Manfri and Kizzy. Manfri is boy. Kizzy is girl.”

“Well pleased to meet you all!” Jack replied with a nod.

“We stay, work for you,” smiled Django.

“We look after you,” agreed Dorenia standing beside Django.

Manfri and Kizzy pushed in front of their parents.

“We be good, very good,” they entreated.

Jack thought for just a moment. It would be great to have company again, and to have some help.

“Yes I would be happy for you to stay.”

After breakfast Jack emailed Bobby and told him that he had employed some help. Bobby had been nagging him to do this for months, but he had been too stubborn to do it until now.

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Posted March 24, 2015 by eileenmoynihan in Uncategorized

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