The Renter©️©️

‘I’m told you rent a room?’ Spoke a man at the front door of the crone on the hill.

‘No!’ Her answer was automatic as they sized each other up. He looked haggard but young. She balanced quietly on the threshold and with a breeze ruffling their hair their auras appeared to wave salutations.

He was not young. He was over thirty but when compared to her advanced years he was a raw babe, stoic and serious with a deathly pallor. Her only leverage was her house.

Clearly fresh out of some hell which he avoided discussing, his turmoil was rank, she didn’t cross-examine him.

She could taste panic.

‘Ok,’ she said, surprising herself and the deal was sealed.

Turned out their schedules worked seamlessly. They barely saw each other.

Except if one was leaving and the other returning. Then a short confusion as they juddered greetings, polite and clumsy and gradually less awkward, even with some humor.

Otherwise the interaction was minimal and this was ideal.

After her husband died she discovered she had nothing except his debts of which he’d never spoken.

She had the house and she started renting out a room. Thus far it had been a stupendous disaster. Either she was robbed, or worse.

Several months into this fresh arrangement and she had to admit she liked it. That she discovered the renter in the living room snoring on the sofa, on her library floor drooling, in a corner passed out, none of this bothered her. Every day she placed a beaker of water. Last thing he did when he wobbled home, half unconscious, he drank the water.

A friend from a neighboring hill stopped by for tea and a chat and being a painter brought with her a painting. The crone placed it on a shelf. She was amazed to receive a note from her renter noting he, ‘Liked the new watercolor’.

Incrementally his withered soul swelled and blushed and she knew he’d fly again.