Who was knocking on the door at this late hour? It was the first day of the year and very cold outside. Could it be? No, that was thirty years ago – a young girl in skimpy, ugly grey clothes who had been booted out of a home.
But there she was, a girl in ugly grey clothes shivering in the cold, her arms were turning blue. “I had to go, I had to leave the home.” She had no eyes.
“Come in, come in!” We went inside and I took her directly to the kitchen.
“Oh, it's nice and warm in here.”
“Oh, yes, very cosy and better still, here is a mug of cocoa to warm you up from the inside.”
“Oh, I've never had this before, it's very nice.”
I looked at her, I talked to her. Her name was Cynthia.
She was shy. She looked like a thirteen-year-old girl. Her clothing was very simple and ugly grey in colour. She said that she didn't know where to go and what do. She told me about the other girls in the home, especially about Deirdre.
She also stank of disinfectant, just like the other girls from the home.
I finished my cocoa. “Would you like another mug of cocoa?” A bit more time to think.
Think about what? She spoke about the other girls, who had also come to my house, but thirty years ago. What was wrong? And why had she no eyes?
I asked her “How long have you been dead?”
“I'm not dead...” She slowly disappeared in front of me, leaving a small pile of grey clothing on the floor.
That really scared me, I ran to the bedroom and hid under the bedclothes.
The pile of clothing was still there the next morning. Hollytree came to visit with her two-year-old grandchild Florentina. I asked her about Cynthia.
“You don't know about Cynthia, that was long before all us girls came to your house. You helped all of us, but you couldn't help Cynthia, she was long dead.”
“Deirdre and Cynthia were great friends, they did everything together, Cynthia was blind. They were very happy together, a bit older than the rest of us. But one day Cynthia got ill, no one did anything, no doctor came, Cynthia got worse, Deirdre held her hand the whole time.”
“Two men in black suits and black caps put Cynthia in a big box and took her away. Deirdre went into herself and hardly spoke after that. It was all very sad.”
“I've got a question for you, Hollytree. Why I've never asked before I don't know. Why did all you girls, and Mrs Rawlings too, know where to go after being booted out of that home. You all said that Copper House was the right place to come to.”
“Dunno really – we just knew it and it was right. A question for you, Yudi. Where did you get the name Yudi? It's a bit odd, isn't it?”
I laughed “I've got one name and one name only, my name is Yudi and certainly not Yudi Yudi. My passport says that I was born in Mongolia, probably in a black yurt on the steppes, but honestly I don't remember.”
On Thursdays I visit Mrs Rawlings and Deirdre. Mrs Rawlings is bedridden, she needs constant help, but her brain is all there – we always have a good chat.
Deirdre is also in a home, she is very variable, sometimes she wants to talk, sometimes she just lies in bed and ignores everything and everybody, sometimes she stares and laughs at the wall.
Today was different, she was waiting for me in the entrance hall, she was wearing a white fur coat with a muff and had a packed suitcase. She hugged me.
I asked where she was going, she mumbled the word home, what was wrong? I asked her about Cynthia, I wanted to know more. She said that she knew about Cynthia's visit and that it would not happen again. She hugged me again and said:
I'm coming home.